BBC 2 - UK
The World's Most Extraordinary Homes, Series 2
Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin travel to Japan, a country who combines innovation with traditional design. And with land at a premium here, small is definitely beautiful. House one is in Izura, on the coast, two hours east of Tokyo. The owner Hiroshi, a fisherman, lost everything in the earthquake of 2011. His new family home, high on a hillside, is nothing like a fisherman's hut. It is a beautiful V-shaped building entirely made of wood with a dramatic design that echos the trees around it. The house is held high in the air by three large pillars of splayed wooden struts that could flex to withstand an earthquake.
Next stop is Jikka House in Izukogen. Old friends Nobuko and Sachiko wanted to create a retirement home for themselves and a cafe for the local community. Nobuko's son, an architect, came up with five linked tepee-like structures, clad in hundreds of curved pieces of cedar. Set in woodland and full of quirky decor Caroline describes Jikka as a 'fairy-tale' home.
In Japan nine out of ten people live in the city so Piers and Caroline go to Hiroshima to see Optical Glass House. Built beside a busy main road this unusual home is a peaceful sanctuary. Inside, Architect Hiroshi Nakamura designed a giant 13-tonne wall of optical glass and behind this 'crystal curtain' a beautiful internal garden with trees stretching up to the sky. Changing light and the shadows of silent passing vehicles add to the magic of this oasis. For Piers this house is 'a shrine to beauty and silence.'
The final property, 'Glass House for a Diver' is on the coast at Etajima. Owner Mr Haragami gave his architect free-reign to design a stunning coastal house. The result - an all-glass building inspired by the chambers of an ants' nest. But the real twist is the choice of rough concrete blocks that surround this delicate home; beauty hidden within a brutal exterior. It is a challenging glamorous house with spectacular views of the sea from every angle.