House in Saijo / Suppose Design Office


Architects: Suppose Design Office
Location: Saijo,Higashihiroshima,Hiroshima,
Program: Personal house
Site area: 246 sqm
Building area: 50.41m
Total floor area: 115.51 sqm
Photographs: Toshiyuki Yano from Nacasa&Partners Inc.

sa01 sa04 sa07 sa09

When I create , I always think that I want to find the charm of the plan.

pit dwelling inspiration


A client is a couple with three children hoped there are bright openhearted space, and keeping the privacy. This site is a field before, and bearing stratum is in the minus one meter from the ground side.Therefore, we thought support according to the composition of not the ground improvement, but a half underground from the beginning of the plan. The leftover soil by excavating the ground was used to making the hill, that thing is enabled the function of the garden on the exterior and guard their privacy from, house’s neighborhood. The upper floors than a half underground are composed by only the pyrami-shaped roof, the lighting was token in the skylight.


The bright openhearted space of a undergound and first floor of feeling the calm, and the second floor with which light is filled while closing.

Each floor was connected by the hole made for the center of the floor,and they were able to materialize to become the various property.

Cite: "House in Saijo / Suppose Design Office" 02 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • Joao Faria

    Absolutly powerful, this is architecture!!

  • nonono

    wow. this is realy SOMETHING!.. great

  • jk

    the kids would always have to be careful not to catch their parents spending “intimate” time, and the parents would have to keep quiet while making love and stuff, not to wake up or disturb the kids – i dont see anything that would act as sound barriers… but then again – maybe thats what the owner wanted? weird.

    and imagine the kids getting thirsty or something during night… they’d always have to run through the parents’ room… kinda freaky, no?

    whats even more freaky is that there are no windows in the kids’ room!! only that skylight… then again i see both kids have pc’s, so maybe they have webcams on the roof to see whats going on outside? and the parents’ room only has that terrace for natural light…

    the building looks supercool, yea, but i couldnt imagine myself living there as a parent, and if i were a child living there id feel like in a prison…

  • jk

    oh, one more thing. there are no rails for any of those stairs… and in one of those photos i see a child’s chair which means there’s at least one very small dude living in that building – imagine that kid in a playful mood (or while sleepwalking, heh) accidentally stumbling and falling down those stairs… what a nasty fall that would be. and for what cost? just because the owner didnt wand some pointless rails to ruin the purist aesthetics of the interior? :D

    for the safety of those kids living there i hope they are super-calm…

  • imagine


  • theDude

    Interesting and valid inspiration, but I think the house could be more kids-friendly with interesting contrasting openings in that roofspace.

    That staircase during that night-time pipi-run could be fatal, sleep in safety gear kids!

    Difficult to understand the translation of the text, but beautiful detailing by the way…

  • create new

    i want to live there

  • NIM

    Agreed with JK
    strong idea, weak execution

  • Terry Glenn Phipps

    This is one of those cases where the suburban context doesn’t really merit a dialogue. The aerial photograph is pretty wonderful, leading me to imagine what the neighbors must think of the dustbuster-cum-volcano that landed next to their Japanese McMansions.

    Burying the house below grade is a pretty clever way to obtain a green view and a lick of privacy.

    Most of the concerns here expressed are particularly occidental. Those concerns make no sense in Japan (even modern Japan). The kids aren’t plummeting down the stairs and they aren’t disturbing their parents.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  • William Bell

    Sometimes I feel like leaving everything behind and moving to Japan for a while… They never cease to amaze me!

  • alt

    Design Tripe.
    Cant wait to see the ground floor space turn into a swimming pool after a storm.
    Must be a good salesman to sell this experiment into a family home.

    • Terry Glenn Phipps

      How astute, you’re perfectly correct that we live in a world that didn’t start building below grade more than three millennia ago.

    • d

      come on dude.. did you really think they didn’t think about that? it’s way beyond..

  • Audric

    For some reason, I don’t think that this project is that laudable. The design statement uses the terms “bright openhearted space” to describe the objectives of the client, but I personally don’t think that they’ve successfully achieved that. The lack of windows on the children’s floor, save the skylight, has already been mentioned. I can’t imagine how it would be like maneuvering around the upper floors when it’s fully furnished; the plans seem to indicate that there’s very little space to squeeze past the beds (with no railings on the other side). The sloping walls contribute to the sense of claustrophobia (although they don’t seem to be at a steep enough angle to severely limit the headspace).

  • Gatz

    Dont fall down in the hole.

  • Michelle Kodner

    These people know how to live.

  • Juni

    They must have so many jealous neighbors.

  • StructureHub Blog

    Reminds me of Arch Record’s current House of the Month ( ). The two projects really show how interesting Japanese residential architecture really is.

  • Hui.X

    good .like ….

  • Ralph Kent

    normally a fan of most japanese architecture but this doesn’t press any buttons for me. the form is overly representational but above all, i can’t get over the size of the void around the stairs given property prices in japan. it seems to fly in the face of japanese economy of means and inventiveness, just flaunting the space, for now clear benefit other than a little borrowed light from that oculus.

  • d

    i think it suggest a slight shifting way of living. seems like it push you to embrace the living area, encouraging togetherness. very powerful indeed..

  • Andi

    It looks like if someone want to go up the bedroom, they have to pass through the main bedroom first..?? And yea… there are a giant hole in the middle

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  • Andrew Geber

    i honestly dont understand this concept of doorless bedrooms..

  • Andrei P

    F.L. Wright’s houses didn’t have doors either and he had lots of children. Japanese culture is completely different to ours. People are extremely polite and discrete. They used to have paper walls, which were never supposed to be soundproof. That’s one reason they have lots of “love hotels” nowadays. As for the void around the stairs that is not only am architectural feature; it also serves to even the light in the house, receiving it from the skylight, but also reflected from the ground level.
    I really love it. This is a simple, clear, but well studied concept.