Located in the town of Shikaoi-cho in Hokkaido, this house was built for a husband and wife couple and their child on the same plot of land as their parents’ house. Although the space that divides the house from the neighboring building is unusually large – almost inconceivably so for an urban downtown setting – the site does not offer a good, unobstructed view of the vast natural expanse that surrounds the property.
In addition to determining an appropriate height for the house that would take into account the amount of light reaching the existing house occupied by the clients’ parents, our design also made effective use of the housing components that extended up until the depth of frost penetration.
This partially split-level house consists of approximately 1.5 layers (for a total height of 4100mm). The large porch space, which is continuous with the entrance hall, functions as a kind of buffer zone dividing the house from the outdoors, offering its inhabitants a gentle, gradual transition towards the interior.
We felt that certain adjustments were necessary to prevent this sort of single-roomed space from creating a monotonous impression. Although the living, dining and kitchen area is located along the south-facing side of the house, it is also situated uncomfortably close to the street that runs just alongside the building. As such, we decide to punctuate the wall with a scattered assortment of windows in various shapes and sizes instead of creating a single, large window. These openings offer the inhabitants multiple functions and meanings – varied glimpses of the sky through each window, a momentary peek at the landscape outside, or the ornamental touches that adorn the storage shelves.
Wooden louvers were installed over the large open windows facing east-west not in order to cut the building off from its exterior, but rather to create a loose sense of connection to the outside.
Centered on a traditional Japanese doma dirt floor area, this house promises to bring family members closer together, receive friends with ready hospitality, and create a sense of easy connection to the local community.