Silent Architecture in Contemplation

The Yoshifumi Nakamura collection




中村好文以設計住宅而聞名,但在三十多年來的建築師生涯裡,也設計過伊丹十三紀念館、Museum As It Is等能供人參觀的美術館及店舖。於他的新作《中村好文:集いの建築、円いの空間》(中文意譯為「中村好文:結集的建築、團聚的空間」)中,便將這類作品編收其中。

In the foreword of the new book by the architect Yoshifumi Nakamura, there is an apt metaphor made by the magazine editor Masachi Matsuie that writes “If architecture was human, [the work of Nakamura] would be one with very few words, yet full of ideas and principles.”

I first encountered Nakamura’s work during my stay at the carpenter Ryuji Mitani’s home, which was designed by Nakamura. Waking up in his Washitsu (Japanese-style room), the sunlight was softened by the translucent Shōji doors; sliding open the doors revealed the apple tree forest outside, amidst the rain and breeze. Seeing Mr. Mitani’s love for the apple trees forest, Nakamura came up with this idea to “borrow” the scenery and incorporate it as part of the room. Instead of naming the houses he built, Nakamura simply calls them “the Home of” somebody. The Home of Mr. Mitani resembles its owner so much, sharing the same affinities and temperament, this is exactly what Mr. Nakamura always endeavors to pursue.

Nakamura once said in an interview that his designs are never too photogenic; or in other words, their beauty can hardly be captured by photography. However, once you spend some time inside the building and wander around, you will get to know the greatness of it. His designs don’t boast about distinctive personality or concepts, they do not strive to break any traditions to create new grounds, instead, they just behave like someone “with very few words, yet full of ideas and principles”. One can feel the depth of someone by quietly observing one’s demeanor, style, and eating habits.

Nakamura is renowned for his residential designs, but over his more than thirty years of architecture profession, he also designed galleries and shops like the Juzo Itami Memorial and Museum As It Is. These kinds of work are to be featured in his new book, Collected Architecture, Clustered Space.