In photographs from my childhood that were taken in front of my family’s old house, I can spot two green trees flanking the main door. The trees were a personal marker of the passage of time; as I grew taller, so too did they. When my family moved, I – at the young age of eight – said a difficult goodbye to those trees, and was devastated to learn years later that the new owners had cut them down. Somehow, because of this personal experience, I am touched by the sensitivity that Hironaka Ogawa & Associates have shown in their design of Garden Tree House. As an extension to the original house in Kagawa, Japan for the daughter and her husband, Garden Tree House required the removal of an Azelkova tree and a Camphor tree that had accompanied the main house for 35 years. The trees, important artifacts of childhood memories, were dried and preserved to be used as main structural columns for the living, dining room, and kitchen. For both the ground floor and the lofted space, the trees are a visual focal point and influence other organic elements in the house, including a curved hallway as well as wooden ceiling beams. Even in their still states, the trees breathe life; a sculptural, white lamp hangs from one of the tree branches, a new kind of flower blooming from the tree.

via – photos ©Daici Ano

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Kimberly

Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.

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