KEITH PIKE (architecture) is a Sydney architect who completed post graduate studies in Japan under Kazuo Shinohara and worked in the office of Arata Isozaki. He is exhibiting five recent residential projects that all have a common thread linking to ideas behind traditional Japanese garden design.


The five houses I’ve chosen to exhibit have a common thread.

All of these projects use the element of water, in the form of fishponds or pools, both at the entrance as a calming, welcoming device, and at the rear of the project, where water acts as an exotic landscape extension to each house – viewable from within.

Ponds evoke psychological calm via gentle reflections and aural ambience provided by the sound of water flowing. Goldfish and koi add constant colour, movement and delight.

The houses represented here are not Japanese designs. They are houses conceived for Sydney, its conditions and lifestyle. However the work is informed by references to Japanese design. Many of these references become part of the architectural language that informs each house design.

In all of these houses I ask the viewer to look for :

  • ambiguous boundaries between inside and outside spaces
  • framed views of features both within and outside the house
  • attention to detail
  • and clearly structured floor plans that interact with their site plans to create an experiential journey, as is the case in a traditional Japanese stroll garden.

Common to all five houses and to my favourite traditional stroll gardens, this journey involves passing, viewing and/or traversing water ponds, stocked with goldfish or koi. Fortunately water as a design feature has been happily embraced by all my clients.