In the Japanese garden tradition, much can be achieved within the boundaries of a small site. The design of Sun City Kashiwa, a housing project for seniors, adopts an Eastern sensibility in the development of the narrow, irregular trapezoidal spaces established by the building geometries. Garden elements are layered both horizontally and vertically to suggest spaces beyond while providing an intimate experience of the landscape from inside the building itself.
The project provides 97 independent-living units, 27 assisted-living units, and 118 skilled-nursing units in two buildings connected by a single-story dining pavilion. The climatic extremes of Chiba Prefecture – from hot and humid to cold and rainy – mean that residents’ needs for a wide array of services and social facilities must be addressed within the buildings. For the residents – minimum age 65 – the compelling views of the garden from inside are an important part of everyday life.
Two landscape features influenced the garden design: an existing, upgraded koi pond at the southern end of the site, and a densely wooded detention basin abutting the property’s north edge. In between, the garden unfolds along with the movement and treatment of open drainage across the site. The koi pond engages the dining pavilion; groves of timber bamboo offer shade and privacy; an extended trough of horsetail overflows into a sculpted channel; and a series of looping paths connect from routes inside the buildings to outdoor areas including a field of community gardens, lawn courts, and a community pavilion and terrace.