Text description provided by the architects. This small villa is an environmental device, where we can find ourselves as a part of nature throughout the year.
This villa is built in Hakuba, famous for its international snow resort. In this area, many houses have ground floor, which is set at 1 meter high from the ground because of the deep snow. As a result, these houses are visually and functionally separated from the surrounding nature. So, I set the large roof upon the site at first, which enables a floor continuous with the ground level. This large roof, made of polycarbonate panels to bear the weight of severe snow, is transparent to gain a lot of sun light onto the roofed terrace. So, we can enjoy time and light in the forest.
These architectural components work as a passive system at the same time. The floor, continuous with the ground, gains geothemal heat to store the slab under the floor. Surrounding snow works as an insulation in an environment below the freezing point. The transparent roof builds double skin, which enables natural ventilation by sunlight in summer and avoids ice dam problem in winter.
Originally published on 18 January, 2014