Japanese architecture firm Hironaka Ogawa & Associates renovated a home in Kagawa, Japan, beautifully incorporating two trees into the interior design. The original home, which stood on the property for thirty-five years, has shared the land with a zelkova tree and a camphor tree since it was first erected. The architects behind this renovation project knew that they would have to remove the trees in order to expand the building, as per the client's request, but found a way to keep the memories of the towering trees intact.
The owners of the home–the daughter that grew up there and her husband–offered some insight into the property for Ogawa to reconfigure his plans for the architectural extension. Hearing her regale stories about climbing the trees as a child uprooted the project's goal into one that would not only offer a modern design scheme but also preserve the nostalgic significance of the two trees.
Ogawa explains his process: “I cut the two trees with their branches intact. Then I reduced the water content by smoking and drying them for two weeks. Thereafter, I placed the trees where they used to stand and used them as main structural columns in the center of the living room, dining room, and kitchen. In order to mimic the way the trees used to stand, I sunk the building addition 70 centimeters down in the ground. I kept the height of the addition lower than the main house while still maintaining 4 meter ceiling height.”