NAGARA COUNTRY CLUB, JAPAN
The Nagara Country Club is a completely new enterprise in the beautiful hills of Chiba Prefecture to the east of Tokyo. The intention of the club's managers and the course designer, Shunsuke Kato, is to give the club an essentially English character.
In developing the design Julian Bicknell and Associates adapted many features of the traditionally English Country House to the special needs of this characteristically Japanese building type. As in many such houses, the principal rooms - the magnificent restaurant, lounges, private rooms and VIP suite - are on an upper floor with extensive views over the landscape. On the ground floor are the spacious entrance hall, fully equipped changing rooms, bathing suites and extensive staff facilities.
Although the building is designed to the exacting standards of the Japanese earthquake code, in collaboration with Ove Arup & Partners, it takes its character from English buildings of the 18th Century with a simple symmetrical plan, large formally organised rooms, corniced ceilings and decorative vaults. It stands as a gateway to the idyllic world of the golf course itself, providing an elegant and fitting sequence of spaces for the various activities of arrival, changing, bathing, refreshment and conversation. Despite the historical associations and the formality of the design, the rooms are light and airy, making a delightful environment for the essentially informal activities of the members and their guests.
The building was completed by Kumagai Gumi Company in 1994 and fitted with interiors by Mitsukoshi following designs by Mary Fox Linton.