House N / Sou Fujimoto

Architects: Sou Fujimoto Architects
Location: Oita, Japan
Project Team: Yumiko Nogiri
Structural Consultant: Jun Sato Structural Engineers
Design Year: 2006-2007
Construction Year: 2007-2008
Site Area: 236,57 sqm
Constructed Area: 150,57 sqm
Photographer: Iwan Baan

A home for two plus a dog. The house itself is comprised of three shells of progressive size nested inside one another. The outermost shell covers the entire premises, creating a covered, semi-indoor . Second shell encloses a limited space inside the covered outdoor space. Third shell creates a smaller interior space. Residents build their life inside this gradation of domain.


I have always had doubts about streets and houses being separated by a single wall, and wondered that a gradation of rich domain accompanied by various senses of distance between streets and houses might be a possibility, such as: a place inside the house that is fairly near the street; a place that is a bit far from the street, and a place far off the street, in secure privacy.

That is why life in this house resembles to living among the clouds. A distinct boundary is nowhere to be found, except for a gradual change in the domain. One might say that an ideal architecture is an outdoor space that feels like the indoors and an indoor space that feels like the outdoors. In a nested structure, the inside is invariably the outside, and vice versa. My intention was to make an architecture that is not about space nor about form, but simply about expressing the riches of what are `between` houses and streets.

Three nested shells eventually mean infinite nesting because the whole world is made up of infinite nesting. And here are only three of them that are given barely visible shape. I imagined that the city and the house are no different from one another in the essence, but are just different approaches to a continuum of a single subject, or different expressions of the same thing- an undulation of a primordial space where humans dwell. This is a presentation of an ultimate house in which everything from the origins of the world to a specific house is conceived together under a single method.

Cite: "House N / Sou Fujimoto" 14 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 17 Sep 2014. <>


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    I think this is a very very good and inspiring idea. I’m not entirely convinced by the color choice (it is very white), but I’m sold on the inside/outside idea.

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      I think the white was imperative as it would detract from the emphasis on the spaces by adding colour into the mix – it would just be too much and not as understated

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +12

    this looks like the arch-daily logo … ;)

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m delighted by this genius idea. It’s so simple and seems to really work out. I’m just curious how they managed to convince the local authorities to get a building permission for this form in that area ;)
    Grzegorz Woronowicz

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    eiiiiiiiiii………….so nice its . but for me if it s my home i prefert grey colour .not so easy for dirty .

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    amazing house!
    but i have a question that from the photos it seems there are no glass for the window, how the designer solve the safty problem? is it really someone live inside?

    • Thumb up Thumb down +4

      In Japan nobody is worried about robberies or criminality. You can forget your laptop/iphone… in a public place, that you would still find it in the same place. A kind of society where good architecture may be possible.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    Inspiring. I want to pour cheetos and PBR on the walls and lick them. Maybe destroy the minimalism through an artistic endeavor.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think about this house almost every day, and have since I first saw it. I know every image by heart I think. There is something magic in these images, if not the house itself. To have such a clear domestic life, the owners must feel empowered to do anything. It seems like if I had such a home, I could take on the world knowing I’d have it to come home to. Truly beautiful.

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    Very nice on photos. Not so sure the house is that great once the sun and wide angle are gone.
    That’s an ideal house, not one to live in.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    it´s great. I´m looking for something like this: the relation between exterior and interior space. We always design the natural outside of the house, but why can´t we do it like that: creating the natural inside the house and the owner can do anything they want.

    Gracias por esta forma de imaginacion.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    This is realy nice building. I like white color which is very modernistic and spaces are open. this is white box but have it’s history;)

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hvala za House N. Zgradila jo bom z možem v Trbovljah, Slovenia, Evropa.
    Thank you for House N. I will build it with my husband in Trbovlje, Slovenia, Europe.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    half indoor or half outdoor spaces,it depends on the point of view, on the gradient of natural light,a theme very well explained by this elegant house.i would also like to live in!

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    well, it’s very cool… maybe too cool to be a ‘home’
    for me, i feel dying in that kind of cleanness and simplicity…

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