Sea Gate

Where does our claim on the land end? The encroaching waves gnaw at this edge, returning it to the sea. At this unstable shoreline in Naoshima, we proposed a series of rooms to meditate on this shifting boundary. We sited this space where any architect would rationally avoid, but precisely because it frames - into an interior - a contested border otherwise too large, too slow to visualize and contemplate. One removes their shoes in the first room as if entering a house. Traversing the sloped sand to the last room, one finds a seating boulder within a living space, opening inviting the incoming tide upon one’s feet. Four connected sequential rooms negotiate this soft boundary and our bodily position within it. Each vertical portal frames the next room, as the edge of each room indexes the position of the shore.

Building at the sea is to also confront the unexpected sublime terror of its temper. Our scale model briefly captured the slow tide imagined in our mind’s eye, yet a moment later was swallowed by waves too large to handle. Again we must contend with the significant yet momentary trace of our footprint. Where and how might we build to keep our house, and to be keepers of our planetary home as well?

Location: Naoshima, Japan
Client: Setouchi Triennale Executive Committee Office
Year: 2018
Type: Cultural
Size: 1,004 SF
Status: Competition Proposal

Team: Figure (Architect) with Sonja Cheng

Listen to the Foil Architecture Chats on Sea Gate.