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Checkerboard Water Garden

Kengo Kuma & Associates

Shared By

Sara Johnson, Hanley Wood Media

Project Name

Checkerboard Water Garden

Project Status


Year Completed



  • Sumitomo Forestry
  • Seijyun Nishihata




House Vision 2

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Project Description


Rather than a house, this is a water garden, constructed for the House Vision exhibition venue as a combination of Japanese cedar from Sumitomo Forestry, which promotes the use of natural wood, and design by Kengo Kuma, the architect who creates architecture simply by piling up square-cut lumber. Adding in participation by plant hunter Seijun Nishihata, who has a talent for manipulating trees, and the result is a delightful and comfortable space of trees, water, and wood. In the run-up to the Olympics, which will be held in the same area four years later, the aim was to produce a new planted space where people can enjoy being at the water's edge in August in Odaiba. The checkerboard pattern creates a water's edge environment where people can sit in the shade of the trees and enjoy dipping their feet in the water, which is just the right depth. A garden is a place where nature and human structures overlap, and House Vision gains significantly from the garden provided by these three collaborators. As technology and understanding of nature both progress, the boundaries between nature and the human world are steadily disappearing. Seijun Nishihata's skill with plants will pay off in Odaiba in August 2016 when the maples he has planted produce a lush crop of leaves.
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