Text description provided by the architects. The house is located in the suburbs of Matsuyama, a northwestern city of Shikoku, a region famous for ohenro, or the Shikoku pilgrimage. The structure is very long and narrow, extending north to south.
It is the home of a gregarious and energetic elderly mother and her daughter who values the practice of cooking meals slowly and intentionally, along with two cautious cats.
As a space in which the mother may fully enjoy her hobby of shigin (performing Japanese or Chinese poems) with her friends, a Japanese style room, complete with a bench, was placed on the side that faces the road. Its ceiling and walls are finished with a Japanese style sakan plastering that uses diatomite, and common reed is used to cover the ochi-tenjō (part of a ceiling that is built lower than the rest, under which the host would sit to show humility). The result is a modern look.
Within the building is a doma* salon that can be used for socializing with friends and neighbors. It is an open space with an exposed roof truss. The floor is covered with teppei-seki (pyroxene andesite) stones, the in-between spaces of which are filled with river gravel having exposed texture.
A small, diagonally added room is a space for the daughter to engage in her hobby of Japanese calligraphy. It is a cozy room with a ceiling that is only 1.8 meters high and a view of the yard—an ideal place for quietly immersing oneself to the art of calligraphy.
The family space, on the other hand, is compactly organized on the northern half of the house. Much thought was put into ensuring privacy for each human and cat, while keeping the traffic required for daily activities as short as possible.
Here, mutually caring family members can coexist in their own respective spaces without being too close or too separate. The inner courtyard placed at the center of the building connects the adjourning rooms while going through constant changes of appearance, time, and light. With the seasons’ changes, breezes that come through, and the sound of running water, it brings enrichment to the everyday.
Every aspect of the house was designed to create an effortless and graceful space.
*Doma salon: Doma (literal meaning: “mud room”) is an area of a Japanese home that has a floor that was traditionally covered with packed earth.