Akio Isshiki Architects marries old and new with this Japanese home and restaurant

Japanese studio Akio Isshiki Architects has transformed an old wooden building into a warm-colored home and public restaurant called House in Hayashisaki Matsue Beach.

Located on a coastal street in Akashi in southern Japan, the mixed-use space was built within a 50-year-old building by a local designer and houses a curry restaurant as well as residential and work quarters.

Designed to reflect traditional Japanese dwellings, the house and restaurant are housed within a once opaque and detached wooden building.

House in Hayashisaki Matsue Beach was designed by Akio Isshiki Architects

During the renovation, Akio Isshiki Architects sought to pair existing elements with modern features to reflect the mixed use nature of the project.

“The house was divided into small rooms, cramped and dark,” studio founder Akio Ishiki told Dozen.

“It was very old and battered, but fortunately the carpenter had done a good job, there were no leaks, and the structure was solid.”

Located in Akashi

Accessed from the roadside, a series of circular stones form a path that leads through the planted front garden and curves along the front of the building, giving access to the ground floor restaurant.

Here, a tiered sheltered porch features outdoor seating and is separated from the interior space by a wide glass sliding door set in a timber frame, which offers views of the garden and can be fully opened to connect the dining space to the outdoors.

The structure contains a restaurant and a house

Inside, the floor is covered in dark tiles inspired by the history of the region, which was once a large producer of tiles.

“These tiles were handcrafted one by one by the tile artisans of Uwaji, with the image of lava stone pavements seen in cities in Central and South America superimposed on texture and edge shape,” said the studio.

It is based on traditional Japanese houses

Wooden furniture, including studio-designed D-shaped chairs created by a local woodworker, are arranged throughout the dining space at the front of the building.

“To ensure stability even on uneven floors, three legs are used as the base of the chairs, and the legs are made of a material so thick that it does not fit into Kawara tile joints,” said Ishiki.

“I aimed for a primitive design of unknown nationality, with a composition as simple and coarse as possible.”

Separated from the main space by an earth-tone counter, the kitchen is tucked to one side of the dining room and features wood-panelled walls and white tiles, along with a two-circle light fixture hung in a street-facing window.

The Japanese shoji screen at the end of the dining room is the first of a series of flexible partitions throughout the house that can be pulled back to provide separation between spaces.

The upper floor contains a private residential space

“Recognizing the tropics and nostalgic, we placed mosquito net-like nets and sudar curtains on our shoji screens,” said the studio. “The magnificent plans created by the imperfect divisions such as Shoji and Fusuma are typical of ancient Japanese architecture.”

“In this house, where different cultures, nationalities, times and other things are brought together, I thought it would be appropriate to mix the spaces partially so they can feel each other’s presence, rather than being permanently divided in terms of use.”

Wood has been used throughout the interior

The remainder of the ground floor is built on a raised wooden platform, and contains the client’s private rooms, divided by shoji screens, including a traditional Japanese room opening onto a garden.

A home office borders the dining space, with a central black staircase leading upstairs, while a bedroom, bathroom and utility room branch off from the other side of the corridor.

The residential space overlooks the sea

Upstairs, the studio added an open plan arrangement of the dining and living spaces with warm surfaces including a red wall and dark wood beams that interact with the house’s original rustic roof structure.

“The wall on the second floor is a scraped wall mixed with red iron oxide and finished with waji plaster,” said Ishiki. “This is an attempt to incorporate the colored walls of each country into the architecture in a Japanese context.”

The house has an open plan living arrangement

Other Japanese homes recently featured on Dezeen include a house in Tokyo spread across two stacked volumes and a concrete house supported by a single column on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Photography by Yusuke Otake.

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