W RESIDENCEPROJECT DETAILS
An excellent expression of the Japanese concept of shibumi, profound simplicity, is embodied in Ted Tokio Tanaka’s previous residence in Los Angeles. The rectilinear mass, with its underlying organizing system of a four foot grid, is designed to accommodate and delineate the “events” of the entrance court, the interior courtyard and the carport. Articulate in volume and facade, the sleek and crisp planes of this house subtly imply hidden depths beyond. In a spare, thoroughly modernist way, it reflects traditional Japanese sensibilities that emphasize the awareness and connection to the natural world.
Located in an older, densely populated area of Los Angeles, the house sits on a narrow residential street and is tightly bordered by neighboring houses. In response to this site, Tanaka sought a design solution in traditional Japanese architecture, and created an inner courtyard as the central focus of the house. As in Japan, the house is considered one with its garden and with the orderly continuum of the seasons. The abundant natural light streams into the house through this courtyard, and the generous use of skylights further adds to the flow of natural light and serves to create a sense of privacy. Tanaka’s conscious efforts to merge the eastern and western architectural traditions are evident throughout the house: the coexistence of cutting edge high technology and Japanese crafts tradition, the juxtaposition of nature with industrial materials, and the incorporation of wide openness and tight proportional control all constitute Tanaka’s architectural vocabulary. The project was completed in 1986.