Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Hakaze-an; Tea Pavilion Project Part 2

The building is beginning now to take on a life of its own, beginning to express character, and claiming space as its own. Standing inside the open space, with the thick beams of Western Red Cedar that hold the roof structure aloft, the building feels rooted in the ground, and the sheltering roof provides a sense of sanctuary and enclosure. You feel as if you are being held here, nurtured even. Its an emergent sense, still but a whispering in the breeze. But it is there if one listens with the whole of the body. Buildings and gardens can become extensions of our body, indeed if they are to function to their highest level, then they must strive to do just that. We do not just absorb the experience of the building or garden through our visual sense, but with our whole being.

As Juhani Pallasmaa expresses it in 'The Eyes Of The Skin': "We feel pleasure and protection when the body discovers its resonance in space. When experiencing a structure, we unconsciously mimic its configuration with our bones and muscles..... Architecture strengthens the experience of vertical dimension of the world. At the same time as making us aware of the depth of the earth, it makes us dream of levitation and flight." Its a fascinating process to see that unfold in time. Part of one wants impatiently to rush to the conclusion, the unveiling of the complete, yet the awareness is there that in the process of unveiling the real relationship is revealed. We come to know the space created, and the space begins to know us.

All creative process are an exercise in balancing the sense of will generated by the ego ('I want it to be like this'), with the recognition that we need also to 'allow' the building or garden to emerge of itself. The creative spark, the idea that sets the process of unfolding in motion, is filtered through the hands and experience of the craftsman builder. Then when we remain still and centred, something quite magical happens, the project begins to assert itself. 'I need to be in this shape, I need to take on this form'. The result is a collaboration between the maker and the made, and if the subtle voices are heard, then there becomes no difference between the two. The one becomes the other.

Each detail of how the viewer will experience the building needs to be considered. How the building will be approached, entered, experienced, and how will the interior reveal the exterior, all these things need to be considered. The main area of occupation within the building, the 'area of sanctuary' is orientated towards the south, to allow the maximum amount of light to open up the space enclosed by the structure. This allows us to create a lower light level in the entry zone. The point of this is to make the act of entering the building a graduated experience, the viewer will move from open space into a relatively confined space with a lower light level, then transit within the building towards the light and comfort of sanctuary. The internal walls divide up the space to enhance the sense of transition. The visitor will have to turn to the left on entering, step up onto a raised floor, and then turn right, and step down into the main area. On entering and turning left a low opening will allow a glimpse of garden space which the building both hides and reveals. The walls are to be rendered in lime plaster, in itself a material that 'breathes. The render is applied in two coats, the top coat, a lime wash, will carry a colouring agent to compliment the exposed timbers of the structure.

Hakaze-an, the 'Hermitage of the Breeze From A Wing' is beginning to reveal itself.

Project Manager/Designer: Robert Ketchell
Architectural Consultant: Andrew Broughton-Tompkins
Master Builder: Andrew Ninnis

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