Text description provided by the architects. Located in Asahikawa in Hokkaido Prefecture, the house was built on a neighbouring plot situated on the southern end of the owner’s family’s home. Due to the climatic conditions of Asahikawa – an inland town with an extraordinary amount of snowfall in winter, and with a dramatic 40 degrees temperature difference between the summer and winter months – the design brief called for an effective architectural solution that not only incorporates good snow management system but also one that is able to minimise heat build up in summer, and reduce the pressure on heaters in winter.
By positioning the house close to the road located on the southern end of the site allows for a wider, shared garden space with the owner’s parents, whose house is located on the northern end.
Supported on pilotis, the upper level of the two-storey house rests lightly over its smaller base. This strategy minimises snow accumulation and creates a nice winter street garden on the ground level. The open plan layout in the elevated volume comprises a large living area in the middle of the space, the owner’s bedroom and a utilities room on the sides, as well as a loft above.
The window on the southern façade is strategically positioned to allow ventilation into the space while minimising direct sunlight, and hence, reducing heat, from entering the house in the summer months, while the large opening at the balcony on the northern façade provides both light and ventilation into the space.
The use of pilotis and a well-conceived open plan layout within the elevated box provides “lightness” in the architectural expression and a spatial quality that is simple in form, but rich in depth at the same time.