Horizontal House / EASTERN Design Office

© Koichi Torimura

Architects: EASTERN Design Office / Anna Nakamura + Taiyo Jinno
Location: Shiga,
Contractor: Marusho Co., Ltd
Total Floor Area: 311.50 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Koichi Torimura

This house does not look like a house.

The shape of the house traces the boundary of the village. The village consists of six houses in all. The shape of the village could be done by making it by stone wall in old times. The project site is located on the north edge of the village that is in the prominent place, and makes the face of the village.

There is a position to observe the village from afar. Our intention is to form scenery from there. The shape to extend naturally the stone wall of old times. The horizontal slit carved there. It becomes familiar with the scenery of the village surprisingly.

© Koichi Torimura

When you enter the house, you will be surprised at the sequence of the view that the slits cut out and the spaciousness there. Because of the horizontal slits surrounding the whole house there is scenery wherever you see. The horizontal slits that overlap in succession at the up and down are 15 totals and the total length is 115m.

floor plan
© Koichi Torimura

The village in the deep place is seen in the slit in the north. Sequence of the mountain continues far away. Footpath in rice field and the person’s coming and going, which disappear into the mountains. The river is seen in the slit in the east. Children bubble over to catching sweetfish there. The Shinto shrine lurks under a large Japan cedar of 400 years. Tsukiaimichi (a communal alley) can be seen through the slit in the shoji in the south. The roofs of the village and the zelkova big trees overlap in the scenery. A mountain comes in the scenery in succession over that. The shrine where the forest and this village are defended is seen in the slit in the west.

There is the one “Tsukiaimichi”. Though the road belongs to somebody of the village, everyone of village may freely pass through. The person in the village strolls with their dog on “Tsukiaimichi”, they stand chatting, and take a shortcut. The client gives importance to “Tsukiaimichi”. And he wishes to defend his privacy without closing the view to the outside.

© Koichi Torimura

The stone wall is extended. Thus the retaining wall is made. It forms “Tsukiaimichi” surrounding the site at the position without the pressure feeling. “Tsukiaimichi” goes up to the courtyard through the retaining wall where the width was narrowed once. The retaining wall lowers gradually and disappears on ground. Then view opens rapidly. But the stone of 170cm height wall is inside to obstruct the view into the house from passersby. And the stone wall 120cm in height appears. Here is the entrance. The shoji where the slit was put so as not to see the inside faces the courtyard.

All those become like “Invisible Layers” between “Tsukiaimichi” and the life scene, which makes the ambiguous boundary there.

Cite: "Horizontal House / EASTERN Design Office" 05 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 02 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=51497>

8 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like the links to Erich Mendelsohn (openings and round corners). Not so sure about the quality for the spaces inside.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Beautiful work! I love the subtle early modernist feel of this project. Extremely interesting plan and use of materials.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    impressive house. very good as modern architectural decision. the forms, the shapes, the quiet philopsohy of architecture.

    the “river” and street facades looks a bit hopper from the sci-fi films, but I think it’s very logical decision; only one question: why ‘river’ facade don’t have “normal” windows, if the landscape from his point of view are very wide and nice? why do the architects decided to project the narrow window line? to my mind, it would be better to do bedrooms windows in the “river” facade. yes, I understand that the world orientation in planing this house was very actual and logical, but the view from the windows what is now, and what it could be if they look at the river side, would be different..

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    it looks like it’s designed for a futuristic film……. could be a cool house… you know, in a sci-fi movie or something haha

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