Architects: General Design
Location: Minamisaku District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Architect: Shin Ohori
Area: 261.0 sqm
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Daici Ano
From the architect. Mr. Setsumasa Kobayashi, client of this project, told me that he wanted a simple place in the woods where he can set up his 2-meter dome tent by The North Face and live in there.
The site, approximately 5,300 square meters, is located in the mountain in Kawakami Village of Nagano Prefecture. Here I provided a wood deck to set up the 2-meter dome tent, kitchen, storage, bathroom and toilet, shelves for firewood, and a solar panel system.
Basically the client and his wife spend most of their time outside. Wood deck is their living room, and the 2-meter dome tent is their bedroom and shelter from wind and rain.
I did not intend to design a regular weekend house, and didn't want comfortable and protected rooms with beautiful views. I was determined to support his clear and powerful vision on the nature, so I eliminated anything that would interfere with his thoughts.
What I created here is a simple and comfortable base for his active outdoor lifestyle in the woods.
I placed two boxes of built-up 120mm X 120mm local larch lumber, and connected them by placing large wood decks for the 2-meter dome tent in between. Since I didn't want to touch the existing landscape, I set various floor levels along the mountainside, and these floors become places for various activities; they can sit and rest there, or they can store firewood underneath, or they can simply stay there and enjoy ever-changing beauty of the surrounding scenery.
All doors are collapsible panels, so when all doors are collapsed, all rooms are totally open-air. All is made of unfinished larch, and it already started to fade naturally into grey. In a long course of time, it will eventually dissolve into the woods and return to the earth.
Some parts of this house does not fulfill basic residential requirements such as waterproofing, insulation against weather, and durability. But in this project I focused on thinking what important things I might lose by trying to achieve all basic standards.
What I needed was to really think about minimum essentials for life in the woods. Naturally they might find some inconvenience, but I believe that people really understand true sense of liberation and freedom under some inconvenient circumstances.
I don't want architecture to be convenient "tools" which guarantee safe and ordinary lives. I hope that architecture will be a place where people discover something new, and make innovations in their life styles.