Find Out How a Japanese Architect Created a Fluid Live/Work Space For a Photographer

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By Melissa Dalton
A skillful configuration of restrained materials and natural light lets a gallery, studio, and residence merge inside one compelling shell.

Kouichi Kimura, the founder of FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects based in the Japanese prefecture of Shiga, wrapped the upper floor of this building in sheets of galvanized steel in order to reflect light and intensify its street presence.     

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In order to create an ideal space for the photographer client, Kimura manipulated light and shadow throughout the interior by strategically placing the windows and thickening the walls at those openings. For instance, a dim passage draws visitors from the entrance into the sparse, light-filled gallery. Another hallway acts as a "hub" that connects to the homeowner's private quarters. There, Kimura varied the exterior openings, incorporating both a ground-level window and a wide door that connects to the courtyard. 

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At the client's request, Kimura arranged the interior plan to blur the boundaries between living and work spaces. To that end, corridors offer both passage and display space for the homeowner's work, while the main living area doubles as a photography studio.

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For spaces oriented towards more public activities, such as the gallery and studio/living space, Kimura specified exposed-concrete floors and white-washed walls. Wood floors and paneling denote transitions into more private areas, such as the resident’s bedroom. The result is a fluid, highly-personalized destination for a photographer’s creative life.  

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