In April of 2015, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) was awarded the first prize in the LIXIL International University Architectural Competition. During the following summer, we developed the project in detail and made construction drawings, supervised by architects from Kengo Kuma and Associates. This winter, the Inverted House was built in Taiki-cho, Hokkaido, and we were working closely on site with the local contractor throughout the process. Now the house is awaiting its new life as the 5th competition house on the open fields of Memu Meadows. The theme of the competition was atypical: “House for Enjoying the Harsh Cold”. Traditionally, architecture has created a strong division between inside and outside, keeping the cold at bay while preserving heat within. The Inverted House seeks to challenge this idea and to bring the ‘harshness’ of the world into the house itself. By minimalizing heated interior spaces and creating a series of sheltered exterior spaces, the building reads the legacy of traditional Japanese Sukiya-zukuri in the light of Scandinavian frugality. Its rough walls create a clear division in the landscape, holding together precisely articulated wooden roofs and floors. The resulting unity becomes an instrument, using wind, snow and sun to change the feeling of the world for its inhabitants.
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