LocationShioya, Sumoto, Hyōgo Prefecture 656-0021, Japan
Lead ArchitectsSatoshi Higashijima
Text description provided by the architects. The Beehive House is a home designed to stimulate the mind and the body. It incorporates a beehive structure and the overall design is based on the traditional Japanese Castle.
It is well understood that moving the body keeps it healthy. We are also understanding more that we need to keep our brains active to prevent deterioration, memory loss and dementia. The goal was to design a home that would do both of these things, keep the body and brain active. I wanted to design a house that makes the family move more than a typical home, comprises of unusual shapes and spaces to intrigue the brain, offers choices of movement to keep the brain active and has an element of fun.
Our brains are constantly receiving information about our surroundings. Childrens’ spaces; bedrooms, classrooms, lesson rooms, TV rooms, all look the same. They are square or rectangular rooms with set ceiling heights. This sameness reduces brain activity and thus could disadvantage our childrens’ development. On the other hand, allowing them to grow up in a space that keeps their brain active could have compounding advantages for them.
This home was specifically designed to stimulate children to enhance their physical and mental development by creating a structure that is unique, allows choice of movement and flexibility of use, is interesting and is irregular.
The beehive structure is comprised of 12 cells which the children are free to use in ways that they choose. They may use one as a bed space and another as a play room or study space. The hexagonal shape is unusual in their everyday so it stimulates brain activity. Once inside the beehive structure it is possible to lose your sense of direction and not know where you are within the home.
The rest of the house is designed with functional spaces on different levels which increases physical movement. There are no dead-ends in the house so one must always choose the path to use.
The living area forms the central core of the house and is likened to the honmaru, the main castle where the Feudal Lord resides. The beehive section represents the jōkamachi the surrounding area occupied by the residents and castle protectors. The exterior of the house is designed to look like a castle facade. The clients are avid castle enthusiasts and so this concept was developed to foster their love of castles.
Besides castles, the family love theatre. The father of the family is an amateur theatre director and puts on performances twice a year. For this purpose the first floor of the home is designed as a working theatre with stage and space for the audience, as well as backstage, lighting and sound areas.