4×4 House II

4x4 House, Kobe, Japan, Tadao Ando
Project year : 2004
Architect(s) :
Address : 7 Chome-15 Kariguchidai, KOBE, Japan
Latitude/Longitude : 34.640280,135.024490

It was in 2003 that Tadao Ando completed a powerful and yet extremely simply concrete house on a beachfront site measuring just 65 m². Significantly for Tadao Ando, the house is only four kilometers from the Awaji Island epicenter of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that devastated Kobe.

As the architect says, “The landscape framed within this cube is a panorama sweeping over the Inland Sea, the Awaji Island and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, were thoughts and memories of the earthquake are embedded, for both the client as well as for myself.” At that time he explained, “an extension of the building on the beach in front is currently under consideration. I am dreaming of an architecture that would soak in seawater at high tide.” The second house, called the 4×4 House II, was finished in late 2004. Ando explained that when the original 4×4 House completed, he got a visit from another client asking him to design one. He suggested that the house be built on an adjacent lot but be constructed of wood. With a site area of 74 m2, a footprint of just 23 m2 and a total floor area of 84 m2, the new residence is as small as its predecessor with good reason, because it is essentially a mirror image of the concrete building. Made with laminated Oregon pine, it has paulownia wood floors. Ando concludes, “By creating a pair of structures resembling a gate opening out toward the sea but built in contrasting materials, that is, in concrete and wood, I hope to reinforce the connection of the architecture to the place.”