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Impressions from Architecture: Vacation Homes Express Everything about the Person, Inside Out!

A chat with architect Masataka Sakano.

We had a fun conversation talking about various projects.
Usually, when people build a house, they do so with social aspects in mind, such as ease of living for the family and harmonizing with the neighbors.

But it’s a different ball-game altogether when it comes to upper-class vacation homes.
It’s like when you build a vacation home at a picturesque place or smack dab in the middle of nowhere, it lays bare the actual person behind the client, inside-out! LOL
They say that even a thing like selecting the location shows you everything about a person’s character, from their background to their esthetic judgment.

Masataka Sakano enjoys viewing maps on Google Earth. He looks at every little detail from different angles, like the landscape and its connecting roads & trails. He visualizes what he can see and what he would like to see from that spot. Man, that’s interesting!

Besides humans, there’s no other creature on earth that is so much in confrontation with nature.
As much as we’d want to call it “living alongside nature,” what we do is clear the lands, do foundation work, pour concrete, and make structures of rebar.

The “Plant Hunter” Seijun Nishihata once gave an opening talk at a lecture for architects. What he said was very profound.
“When you design a home, do you design it with the nature of the land in mind? Or do you build it based around what the client says?”

I think that that caught the audience a bit off-guard. Seijun Nishihata believes we should design buildings with nature in mind; and, I think that’s the correct attitude to have.

Humans are a creation of nature itself, but in making civilization, we became these anti-natural beings. It’s not intrinsically bad—it’s the process of urbanization that births civilization. And that’s why there’s almost no sign of nature in cities.

When we make these structures, the confrontation with nature is inevitable. It’s precisely because we are making something that is anti-natural that we ought to know the nature of the place. I think without this rhetoric, we cannot truly make a first-class building.
Man, it was quite an eye-opener!

The conversation is from two years ago.
“The secret of life! How to live in the present day? That’s all.”
Architect Masataka Sakano × Consultant Atsushi Fukuda