in Collaborations , Videos | 28 JUN 21

Building Stories: Takashi Yanai’s Personal Fusion

The Japan-born, LA-based architect shares how distinct influences and principles combine in his intimate conversion of a classic tract home

in Collaborations , Videos | 28 JUN 21
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Continuing the exploration of how a person’s vision and narrative can shape a building into an exceptional home, this new video in the ‘Building Stories’ series, visits architect Takashi Yanai in the home he shares with his partner, architect Patricia Rhee, and their children in LA’s Mar Vista neighbourhood.

Yanai explains how he took a ‘very well-designed tract home’ and infused it with elements of Japanese architecture. In particular, he sought to use the bones of the house to ‘frame and curate views of the landscape.’ Thus, a large sliding glass door opens the main living space onto the gardens of raked gravel and walls of bamboo. His decision to paint the house’s entire exterior in flat black, Yanai explains ‘all the plants are just stars in front of this black stage’, too.

The interrelation between interior and exterior space (as exemplified in the works of Richard Neutra), is also central to California architecture – an important reference in the ‘multicultural modernism’ practiced by EYRC, the architectural studio where Yanai and Rhee are both partners. Yanai singles out a chair in his home designed by Rudolf Schindler as particularly special to him, for its link to the Schindler House (now home to the MAK Center for Art & Architecture) in West Hollywood on Kings Road, and its geometric form that reflects the principles of Schindler’s groundbreaking design. Ultimately, this house’s merging of diverse principles and influences reflects Yanai’s own experience, being born in Japan and raised in California: ‘I always tell my clients’, he says, ‘that a house should be a portrait of them.’

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