House in hieidaira / Tato Architects

  • 10 Jul 2012
  • Houses Selected Works
© Satoshi Shigeta

Architects: Tato Architects
Location: Prefecture, Japan
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 186.14 sqm
Photographs: Satoshi Shigeta

The house is located in Shiga Prefecture halfway up Mt. Hiei. The client is an artist who needed an atelier and a house for his family with a space for his parents to live together in the near future. The houses in the nearby existing residential area are gable-roofed keeping to the regulation that demands slanted roof, which appeared to be providing a sense of serenity along the street. We pursued a study for architecture to match the site in between such residential area and woods.

© Satoshi Shigeta

One structure covering all the requirements and the considerations thereof deemed to be too large a volume for the site of such environment. In addition, we were told that an atelier might cause noise and odor. Taking these conditions into account and being inspired by the client’s objet d’ art reproducing various commodities, we worked out such an overall plan as to arrange three similar, independent houses of cottage type ― one for atelier and the other two are for the client’s family and for his parents.


The construction of the atelier was simplified to meet the extremely low budget. Cement excelsior boards serving as bearing wall structures with heat insulation and fireproof effect were attached to the structure, which were then covered with corrugated polycarbonate plates. Heat condensing stuff was buried in the ground under the floor to provide floor heating through the foundation utilizing midnight electric power. The surface of the foundation concrete is finished off with trowel to serve as floors. Structural materials for walls and roofs are left exposed to facilitate modification by the client.

© Satoshi Shigeta

The foundation of the two living houses was finished simply with mortar to most efficiently use the floor heating by foundation heat condensing system as well as the atelier. The inside walls were all finished with lauan plywood and painted white partly.

© Satoshi Shigeta

The size and arrangement of windows were proportionally scaled up modeling the conventional cottage type to make the houses look smaller than they actually are.

© Satoshi Shigeta

The floor space of upstairs was not required to be so large but was required to be independent to some extent. As ordinarily upright walls would make the space of upstairs cramped and the ceiling of downstairs too high, the partition walls were leaned to have the solid space divided diagonally, and thereby a ”hill-like-floor” and a ”roof-like-ceiling” emerged. Here appeared such a new model as assembling a small cottage type into a large cottage type.

Floor Plans

A cottage type is assertive enough to make people imagine the interior to be consistent to the exterior, and vice versa. Above a ceiling suggesting a cottage style roof another ceiling suggesting another cottage style roof is provided, and thereby we think we have created a solid space as if it is ever extending up.

© Satoshi Shigeta
Cite: "House in hieidaira / Tato Architects" 10 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>