Biwa Ike Golf Club | Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
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The Biwa Ike Country Club, Croxton Collaborative Architects in association with Ishimoto Architecture and Engineering, Tokyo, Japan, offered an extraordinary opportunity to work with large-scale, elegant spaces and an unusually rich palette of luxury materials. Built on an exquisite sliver of land in Tochigi Prefecture some 60 miles north of Tokyo, the Club was the private enterprise of a major Japanese industrialist.
All spaces, from the spare entrance hall, to the bars, dining room, private dining rooms and locker and ‘bath’ rooms had to bear the imprimatur of the ‘best of American design’. All millwork, though ultimately constructed in Japan, was designed and detailed in our office. Only furniture, custom-carpets, wall-coverings, light fixtures and accessories made in the U.S. were considered acceptable for this project.
The Biwa Ike Country Club presented a rare opportunity to work in a foreign milieu, and to dovetail our working methodology with that of a Japanese firm. Conducting the interiors presentations in Japan, we also oversaw related progress at the site.
The clubhouse sits on the crest of a low hill overlooking a natural habitat of pine forests, and the Biwa Ike Lake, named for its nesting swans. The golf course has been sensitively designed around these features, respecting natural outcroppings and saving the groves of wild cherry trees which are sacred in Japan.
The building incorporates a large lobby with reception and golf-bag handling facilities, a lounge, dining room and kitchens, and four flexible rooms for private parties. The first floor also provides locker rooms, shower facilities and the rotenburo. A continuous, protected deck overlooks the first and eighteenth holes.
Designed to reflect an updated American vernacular, the interior is richly detailed with Anigre paneling, and low-band beams with integral, indirect lighting, which define each space and frame the central lobby. All of the furniture, furnishings and lighting is American, selected or custom designed to meet the special requirements of the club. Wool carpets meet PGA specifications and are custom designed. This clubhouse represents a new concept in Japan: it is a contemporary interpretation of a singularly American approach to design.