Stair House / y+Mdo

Courtesy of y+Mdo

The owners of the Stair House are are a young couple, both teachers, with two young children. When they hired architects y+Mdo to design their dream home, they had three key themes in mind; A house that could protect their privacy, provided warm and bright space, and could also encourage the gathering of people as they love their students visiting them.

For more photographs and details of the Stair House follow the break.

Architects: y+Mdo
Location: , Shimane-Pref,
Project Area: 142.66 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of y+Mdo

Courtesy of y+Mdo

The property is located at seaside, and in the winter months suffers from the strong, cold sea wind and a short number of daylight hours. To the south of the property there is a 3 meter wide road and a 4 meter high bank leading to open ground. From the West is a combination of strong direct sunshine and sea wind. To the North is a road to the local village and to the East lies a two-storey house.  The architects response to the site challenges and keeping the interests of their clients in mind the design result was a stair shaped house.


To allow sunlight into the house, there are a number of glass slits in between the steps on the south side. The glass slits provide a dual purpose of vision connection and natural light along with privacy. The material used for the stair shaped wall are porcelain tiles and require low maintenance.

Courtesy of y+Mdo

The outside structure links the garden to the rooftop and the inside of the house links a private porch/reception/lounge area to the bedrooms. The windows are designed and situated to allow in as much sunlight as possible, whilst retaining privacy.

Courtesy of y+Mdo

Additionally, the Stair House allowed both daylight and ventilation to penetrate into its interior. In summer, the house has a nice breeze blowing through the small garden situated on the south side and removes heat through ventilation fans on the north side. The slit windows eliminate direct sunshine, however provides indirect reflected light into the house.

thermal diagram

In winter, this design keeps the house warm by allowing the maximum amount of sunlight into the house in addition to the comforting warmth from the under floor heating and a wood-fire.

Cite: "Stair House / y+Mdo" 02 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • godryk

    Nice project. However, as constructive critique, I must say that a project that is crealy based on section design should provide section drawings (“diagrams” are not architectural drawings but marketing). This is the first thing a teacher would say: No sections? Come tomorrow with some. Nevertheless, nice one.

  • yeah

    Villa Malaparte is still much better!

    • nay

      i beg to disagree, this house is at least at par with it

  • FG

    Its nice to see a house with inhabitants, books and landscaping in place – it looks like a fun house to grow up in (though that tile looks like it might be slippery). I bet all the neighborhood kids will be playing there. Unfortunately, it would probably never pass muster in the States for that chimney (which would be worked around) or with lenders for the size (or perceived resale)…

  • up_today_arch

    Outside views are promising… but inside is regular building… But very nice indeed…

  • cmarin

    Looks really nice, the problem is the distribution of the spaces, what about the toilet. If you want to take a shower… do you need to go down stairs???

    The problem is that the interior is a waste… the exterior is nice