Text description provided by the architects. This single family residence project, for a family of 4, is situated in the outskirt of Miyagi prefecture, northern part of Japan. The site, surrounded by mountains, is protected from harsh seasonal wind blown down from Zao Mountain and the only south is open, where rice fields spread out. The surrounding mountains preserve rural scenery, distanced from traffic noise.
Traditional post and beam structure was chosen for low budget project, and this structure provides grid system. Uniformly bright space is not always appealing. Light and shadow always coexist in traditional Japanese culture, where darkness accentuates lightness and refined culture appreciates the existence of darkness.
The mountains that surround three sides of site embraces light, shade and shadow, and direct sunlight is shining down from open rice fields on south. The mountains start to cast shadow in the afternoon, blocking direct sunlight to the site and it influences its appearance from morning to afternoon. The intention was to explore the characteristics of landscape into the design and to best experience impressive scenery throughout a day and year.
The house consists of two volumes, an axis volume and wrapping volume. Main “dark” axis, oriented east to west, is wrapped by each “light” room, wrapping volume. The wrapping volume incorporates impressive scenery from south. The main axis forms rear courtyard, allowing maximum sunlight to rear of the house till the site is shadowed, and it also conducts the journey with controlled views from beginning to end. Electrical heating system is embedded into the concrete slab of main axis, which holds and radiates heat out to both axis and wrapping spaces.
South entering light bounces off the white wall to brighten the living space and white space harmonizes with natural light of rice fields and open sky. North axis with dark stained wall provides dark and settled light, and merges with shadow of mountains. The contrast of dark and light enriches the space with different atmosphere that changes throughout the day and with the seasons, whilst bringing the controlled views to the space.