House in Hiro / Suppose Design Office

© Toshiyuki Yano / Nacasa & Partners

Architects: Suppose design office
Location: Hiro, Kure city, Hiroshima,
Site Area: 78.34 sqm
Building Area: 37.39 sqm
Total Floor Area: 66.46 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Toshiyuki Yano

This spacious house is a home that has two gardens.

ground floor plan
© Toshiyuki Yano / Nacasa & Partners

The site is located in a shopping district alongside the main highway, a harsh place to satisfy the demands of a client desiring a home with bright gardens. There are no outdoor gardens here, so we decided to plan outthe kind of place that you could almost call a real garden, by bringing to the indoors materials that evoke – elements of the outdoors – garden-like elements such as light and raw materials. By setting up garden rooms that at first sight make you feel as if you are in a real outdoor garden – despite being indoors – we have created a distinction between the indoors and outdoors, and by putting characteristically “outdoor” things such as plants and bicycles in the rooms, as well as books, artwork, and pianos, we have portrayeda life in which these elements are all mingled. We struggled to achieve this new outdoors-like form by changing the way we looked at things just a little bit, by unconsciously recognizing these “inside and outside” elements. The garden rooms, where the indoors and outdoors mingle, show that rather than being a home that cannot allow the sort of metamorphosis it has seen thus far, this home is comfortable with these changes.

© Toshiyuki Yano / Nacasa & Partners

By participating in putting the finishing touches on the buildingユs interior design, we think that we have created such a home.

Cite: "House in Hiro / Suppose Design Office" 08 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Han

    I doubt that the staircase would be wonky without supporting structure undernearth while one’s walking on it….

  • Han

    Forgot to mention from plans, the toilet&bathing is to far away from bedrooms, it’s so much inconvenient~~~

  • the big black & white zebra

    Suppose… cool. This is everything the recently featured Indian house isn’t. Whether you would want to live in it or not it achieves amazing elegance through simplicity. That simplicity is both in design and construction – as though this building could not be done in any other way.

    I think if Suppose did decoration it would still have relevance and grace… again something the Indian house does not.

  • arnold

    hopper (bunker). I can’t find another word to describe this house. it’s very introvert house and the people who will live here I would describe also as very introvertic and frighten of smth.

    Such moder Japan architecture are very interesting (if it’s conceptual), but as longer I study it, as more and more disappoint. Why? everywhere that is modern (conceptual) Japan architecture – are BOXES BOXES BOXES… some of them are very interesting and beautiful, but many… and the main component which connects all this modern japan architecture (for example – living) houses – all of them in some case (much or less)looks like hoppers or bunkers.

    Dear Japan architects: how long do You create these boxes/hoppers? Your native (“folk”) architecture is such warm and beautifull; when do You discover IT again?

    • darrell

      Modern Architecture can be exciting and great but these things are obviously slapped together as cheaply and as quickly as possible. I can’t believe they put people in them.

      • Michael

        there is nothing cheap or quick about this.
        the detailing is thorough, the execution is precise and it would have cost a bomb.

    • Rick S.

      Frighten of something? Look at the plot! There’s no place in it without a neghbour’s window within five meters! If you want to achieve any privacy, this is the minimum. In such dense urban conditions, THIS is the traditional way of dealing with housing in Japan. What would you do in their place? I’m curious…

  • nonono

    Despite the program, since it is designed for only one or two people to lives, the details are very pleasing. The stepping stone to the hall is cute but not the other way (sort of dangerous).

    The bathroom glass wall is truly brilliant for them to be able to enjoy their space as much as possible.

    I can’t blame Japanese architecture for being inconvenient in our point of view. The more I see their house floor plans, the more I see that convenient is not in their top priority, remember that they are not lazy.

  • up_today_arch

    It is on the point in Venice, I think… Same spaces, same scale, I like this simple intravert house, it the world of owners…

  • RQH

    Surprisingly livable for SDO. Although I’d rather not have the toilet so close to the dining table…

  • Melnikov


    (civil contruction is not ARCHITECTURE ! )

  • Jens

    Isn’t it a bit too much like Azuma House. But I guess that’s about the best inspiration you can have for an urban villa.

  • watashimo

    You need to look past the shell i think. this is introspective and intimate architecture, not really introverted in my opinion. It makes me think of wabisabi in dense urban context.

  • Franarchy

    Kinda cool, but looks like a prison.
    Cold place to live in

  • PatrickLBC

    It only looks like a bunker from the outside, which is not a bad thing in an urban setting. On the interior, the smooth walls and wood floors/ceilings bring comfort and warmth. Not to mention the beautiful quality of light from the garden areas. Yes, the placement of the bathroom is strange (at least by western standards). However, I think this house is beautiful, the details are refined, and whoever gets to live here is very lucky indeed.

  • christopher

    unlike western civ. most of the world regards bathrooms as something to place as far as possible from the living area (sort of like westerners did when we had out-houses). this tradition has carried though even though we no longer poop in holes (although any traveling to southeast asia will give you a new sense of what how commonplace this still is, even in urban areas)

    so forget the bathroom for a moment:

    i know it’s cool and minimal and all–and i’m not a ‘fear-of-heights’ type–but these pictures are giving me vertigo. a handrail (or even a recessed grab on the inside) would just be 1000% safer.

    this is a classic example of aesthetics overtaking responsibility. you don’t have to put a huge clunky guardrail/handrail on it, but this is borderline negligence, IMO.

  • m schroeder

    Suppose Im doing my stuff in the toilet while my wife is cooking or eating or with guests. I suppose that wouldnt
    be pretty.
    Sorry but this is a complete fail.

    • mare

      i agree.. it’s an cold, unpleasant and non-functional place.

    • bLogHouse

      There’s worse – suppose you are one of the guests and you really need to go..

  • zeta

    Have to agree with Arnold – I’m also getting tired of cold, box-like spaces in which the beauty of the composition is gone if you move the chair just a bit :) This does not look (to me) like a space for living – and this makes it kind of warped, regardless of the eye-catching fragments.

    Thumbs up for the Japanese traditional style, indeed.

  • GOAG

    boring cliche

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  • the big black & white zebra

    Hey guys….
    We are forgetting there is a client involved in the process,,, no?
    If they wanted a traditional Japanese house they would not have gone to Suppose….
    and whose to say the client doesn’t want us to see him on the toilet when we are guest in his house. I am guessing he doesn’t mind at least if this design was tailored for them…
    I am sure the clients are very happy people and with the undoubted panache of Suppose no one went home disgruntled…

  • arnold

    when I see this house, I remember Kobo Abe’s novel “Hako-Otoko/The Box Man”.
    Some of japanese people looks like “box mens” with they thinking/philosophy of Life :-).

    variety of viewpoints (or thinking) are very good, – it decorate our Life.

  • the big black & white zebra

    I guess the owner knows his guests well enough… point is, we do not know the owner well enough so we cannot make value judgements based on our own requirements.
    When Suppose design a house for you, you’ll have plenty of time for criticism.

    • bLogHouse

      I wonder why did you pick my innocent attempt for a joke, when there are more serious criticisms ,like christopher’s for example. Let me repeat his statement: “this is a classic example of aesthetics overtaking responsibility”. How about that,huh? And wanting privacy at least in the bathrooms is not ‘my own requirement’, it’s a general human condition.

    • Alfred

      You don’t invite in your home in Japan, you invite in a public place like a restaurant. No sofa, no coffe table books. One chair for each member of the family, nothing more.

      And if the customer wanted his toilet in a awkward place , as an architect, it is absolutly not my job to judge his life style. I’m here to design it.

      • bLogHouse

        First, how do you know what the client wanted, are you the architect of this house?
        Second, would you really design _anything_ a client wants,
        even if you consider it inappropriate? Then, to paraphrase
        cristopher, this is a classic example of servility overtaking responsibility.

  • urko

    da rocha’s armchair in strictly da rochean walls

  • the big black & white zebra

    I know the client probably got what he wanted, especially with such an outré bathroom design…
    I would not design monuments to my ego. Our individual artistic expression is tempered with our clients practicality and wishes. A good mix, and excellent architecture is the result – we can see this is excellent architecture whether we like it or not so the client architect relationship must have been good…

    • TC

      A windowless concrete box squeezed between other boxes has become “excellent architecture”, and why can’t “we” all see this ?
      I guess once you get past the poetry of exposed concrete, there is not much left. Funny enough, there was a time when sun light, good orientation, properly sized windows and eventually a decent view were some of the prerequisites for good architecture (and a healthy life, by the way). Now slap some concrete walls on an odd plan and there you have it.

      I am looking at the first image and it just gives me the chills. Perhaps not everything an office gets built is really suitable for publication…

      One more thing – the fact that a thing like this got the client’s approval does not equate to “excellence” – at least not in my world.
      Hats off to Suppose Design Office, which have some beautiful houses in their portfolio – this is just not one of them.

      • the big black & white zebra

        Hey your confusing the pre-requisites for a bucolic rural idyl for a compressed site between two high street commercial units!
        In that context what is not to like with a protective concrete box?
        The precision of the inside takes you away from all that flappy crap outside…
        know what I mean

      • Michael

        Not everyone lives in Iowa.
        ‘Sunlight, good orientation, properly-sized windows (whatever that means!) and a decent view’ are pretty hard to come by in dense urban environments like Hiroshima.
        Projects like these are important and westerners (like most of the people commenting here i presume) should pay more attention to ideas about living with LESS.
        The days of 4 bedroom houses on half an acre of land will end soon. We need to learn from examples like this, not rubbish them because it doesn’t look like ma and pa’s house.

      • the big black & white zebra

        Missing the context here…
        A bucolic rural idyll is not appropriate for a small urban plot between two commercial buildings… the concrete box is a contextual response giving the clients privacy and security.

      • TC

        I think you are missing my point completely.
        I did not suggest a “bucolic rural idyll”. Luckily for some us, there are many nuances (and options) between 30 sqm in Hiroshima and a half an acre in Iowa. And ma and pa’s shack is not the only alternative to this box either.

        Compact living /living with less ? Sounds great, I am all for it – as long as there are real qualities behind these concepts.

        There are examples of building in a very dense urban context, and it does not need to look like the doomsday is coming. A “contextual” response does not unequivocally generate good architecture, does it ?

        Just a thought : no matter how fine the details or how beautiful the concrete, there’s a little more to architecture and living than this proposal.

    • bLogHouse


      could you, please, itemize what do you mean by ‘excellent architecture’ in this case? How would you rationalize the solution for the bathroom? (just spare the ‘client wanted it so’ b.s.)
      Don’t get me wrong – I admire Japanese minimalism in all art forms, both traditional and modern, and the ascetic look of exposed concrete. But calling the above ‘excellent architecture’ is a bit of a stretch.
      BTW, this house reminds of the tesseract in R. Heinlein’s story “And He Built a Crooked House” in which every room has a window to every other room.

  • SPG

    This strange little cell like building has seemed to get everyone in a flap. What has been overlooked in the comments is that the site is a tight urban space in a crowded urban environment.Obviously not meant to house more than two and I would suggest the owners are professionals who work and live mostly out of home. I see no difference to this type of dwelling than to apartment living in any large city.Bunkers reinforce security and are an excellent bolt hole from modern city life.My only criticism is the low level of light on the ground floor.Otherwise,it’s an intriguing Japanese solution.

  • TC

    Indeed. The only alternative to living in Hiroshima is half an acre in Iowa, and the only other option besides this box is ma and pa’s house. There is nothing in between, is there now ? The two pillars of contemporary architecture…

    Compact living / Living with less ? Great, I’m all for it, as long as there are qualities associated with these concepts.

    There are plenty of examples of building in a very dense urban environment and it does not need to look (or sound) like the doomsday is coming. I was just expressing my doubts about the tag “excellent architecture” that someone else placed on this particular entry (supposing we all judge this project by the plans and images submitted)

    • TC

      Double posting, I am sorry.

  • Adrem

    Very controversial project, very interesting discussion, with a special mention for the last comments that have been posted (starting from TC’s one).

  • Chk

    You can see someone bathing in the bathroom thru the wire-mesh terrace floor. What the?

  • tony

    I want these stairs for a new build in Ibiza. How are they done? what are they made of? Urgent. The construction has started and we haven’t been able to fix on stairs……..