Japanese practice Schemata Architects has nestled a guesthouse and bar into a hill on the coast of an island in the Seto Inland Sea, with large windows that can be fully opened to the surrounding landscape.
The Tokyo-based practice was commissioned by the site’s owner to create two new structures to accompany an existing house further up the hill: a guesthouse for children called Dokubo and an independent lounge and bar space for adults called El Amigo.
“The hillside is shaped like a slope rising gently counterclockwise. The owner is adding new buildings along it, while the buildings we designed stand slightly away from the trajectory, down to the south,” explained the practice.
“We positioned them to avoid obstructing the view of the Setouchi landscape from the existing buildings,” it continued.
The guest house contains five small bedrooms, each accessed off a hallway at the top of the hill and ending in a full-height pivot window that can be raised up by a system of small steel wire pulleys attached to the overhanging steel roof.
A small shower, toilet and dressing room occupy the eastern end of the guesthouse, where a steel spiral staircase leads up to a walk-on roof that leads to the main home further up the hill.
The hallway is wrapped by an exposed-concrete retaining wall built into the slope, while the bedrooms sit within a lightweight structure of timber and reddish-brown steel.
Further along the slope, the El Amigo lounge takes on a bunker-like appearance. The bar space was sunk into the hill to offer a feeling of intimacy and has large gull-wing and pivot windows to open it up to the landscape.
Inside, the lounge’s subterranean nature is emphasised by rough, exposed stone walls, which wrap an island countertop and sink at its centre.
“We designed El Amigo like a hole in the ground, to enjoy nightly drinks in a cozy atmosphere around the table with the host,” said the practice.
“In the daytime, gentle light, reminiscent of light passing through shoji screens, filters through the FRP roof, [and] one can open the window to enjoy a panoramic view of the sea, a perfect setting for holding tea ceremonies in the ryurei (standing) style,” it continued.
Schemata Architects was founded in Tokyo by Jo Nagasaka in 1998. Previous projects by the studio include a sports store on Jeju island with fittings made from recycled materials and a hair salon in Osaka designed to evoke an industrial warehouse.
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