B House / Anderson Anderson Architecture + Nishiyama Architects

© Chris Bush

Architects: Anderson Anderson Architecture +
Location: Shimasaki, Kyushu Island,
Project Area: 1,100 sq ft
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Chris Bush

floor plan

This two bedroom, one bath home—built for two public school teachers on a hillside overlooking Kumamoto, Japan—is planned to become fully energy self-sufficient once all designed systems are phased in. The construction budget of US$154,000—an extremely modest budget by local Kumamoto standards—required a close collaboration of the architects and builder to achieve a high-quality, off-site fabricated timber-frame construction meeting high sustainability standards. Rather than eliminating green technology to remain within budget, the 1100 square foot home was planned for a phased integration of systems, budgeted to be completed with the couple’s current income without increased loans over the coming five years. All essential components of the sustainable design strategy are fully implemented in the original construction, including natural, renewable, healthy materials; optimized solar shading, day lighting, and chimney-effect natural ventilation; solar hot water heating; high-efficiency hydronic heating made ready for future geothermal ground loop and solar thermal roof panels; water catchment roof system planned for a future green roof; and efficiently sized spaces and gardens conducive to simple, indoor-outdoor living with minimal ongoing maintenance and resource investment.

© Chris Bush
© Chris Bush

The house is sited on a terraced, south-facing slope in a dense housing neighborhood, overlooking orange groves and a spectacular view of Kumamoto Castle and surrounding hills. The building is sited for maximum views and passive solar heating of the massive concrete floor slabs serving as thermal ballast, and with opening walls facing the prevailing summer winds. The north face of the home has a steeply pitched roof section oriented for photovoltaic panels facing south, and high, operable clerestory windows facing north and upslope, creating optimized day lighting without summer heat gain, and creating a chimney-effect natural ventilation draft drawing air through the home, and exhausting the kitchen, bath and sleeping spaces with cooling updrafts. The house is constructed of simple, robust materials, consisting of concrete, plaster, and locally and sustainably harvested timber.

Cite: "B House / Anderson Anderson Architecture + Nishiyama Architects" 26 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=57172>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s a shame they couldn’t have engineered some better support in the roof ro the cantilevers of the eaves so as to eliminate those posts, especially the one on the angle!

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      That’s totally true. It’s really weired the fact that they mixed wood and steel supports, and in the corner It’s horrible, the wood one just next to the steel one, and with the diagonal is even worse. It’s a shame, becaus the plan is pretty clean…

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s a shame that the photographer has used such an extreme wide-angle lens, as it totally distorts the space and turns it into something that it’s not. You can’t get a clear idea of what the actual space is like.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Nice size, materials, program and layout (except for the enclosed kitchen), but I agree with other comments in terms of the spindly galvanized columns and distorted scale provided by the interior views. It also seems to be a weak insulation envelope given the winter temps in this area and the amount of money planned to be spent adding solar and geo-thermal systems.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m agree with rob’s comment. To much wide angle, did anyone saw the black cat under the table in pic 4. That’s funny…!!

Share your thoughts