The project was to create a courtyard garden in the housing complex, ‘The Park House Ryougoku Residence’, which was constructed in Sumita, Tokyo. This location, Ryougoku was closely connected with Hokusai Katsushika, which led to my suggestion that one of his wood-block prints should be represented by a garden. The picture I chose was ‘Oceans of wisdom in Choushi, Chiba’, which depicted a struggling fishing boat in the rough sea. In the beginning, I noticed the expression produced by the lines in the picture and got a clue to the process of converting this planar picture to a three-dimensional garden space. It was not exciting to simply create a copied garden of the picture. After reviewing Hokusai’s unique life and Art work, I was encouraged to express something new in the garden as a challenge. That meant that it should be as abstract as possible and express a sense of dynamic by designing the composition of the garden and controlling the directional strength of the materials.
The boat shaped stone, which was the focal point in this garden, had been dug out and placed at Mt. Ena for 30 years. It weighed 5 tons and needed to be cut in half, because of the difficulty of carrying it into the garden site. It also needed to reduce its weight and retain its best impression, which was the strong impact the stone showed. These separated stones were placed in a staggered, twisted and tilted position into the shape of the letter ‘L’ and uplifted at an extreme angle and placed on the white granite, as if the boat ran upon white horses in the ocean. The stormy sea was created by paving Blue Teppei slates on edge to resemble ripple. The mountain scenery was created by mixed planting of pruned shady evergreen trees and shrubs. Variegated plants were used in order to provide a bright impression into the place with a little sunshine.
This garden gives the feeling that the small space looks bigger than it really is with the use of extreme perspective from all directions. The three-dimensional expression produced by the various angled shapes and the controlled sense of weight, which forces viewers to move their gaze around and the colours, shapes and curving lines of the natural materials, which resemble the sea and the mountains is what I call; ‘A homage to Genius Hokusai’.