A House within A House within A House

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A House within A House within A House

Megan Harris Megan Harris
by 髙木貴間建築設計事務所
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Given the very cold temperatures in Hokkaido, Japan, the design for this house called for the reduction of external glazing, allowing the home to optimise its thermal environment. The challenge this created was an incompatibility with the client's desire for the home to be open. 

To counter this discrepancy, the designers proposed the idea of a town within a house. And thus, the Inception-esque - enclosure within enclosure, walls within walls— home was born in the old streets of Sapporo, Japan. The abundant layering of internal walls and ceiling masses store thermal energy and release it into the living environments when needed; an ingenious solution to combat the cold in the region of Hokkaido

The enclosure

Here, we see the closed nature of the external shell, beautifully encased in natural timber running vertical. The gentle slope of the roof gives consideration for the heaving snow load in winter. 

A void is indented in the street-facing facade to create an entry recess. It mimics the roof pitch, expressing the entry in a thoughtful and appealing way!

An escape from the snow!

And the need for a reduction in glazing becomes evident—the snow has fallen! There is only this one glazed opening in the facade that connects the social heart of the home with the exterior. 

Again, appropriating the roof pitch, the opening is indented in the enclosure, providing cover over part of the patio. Cover over the patio, you say, in this climate?!


A typical room in a house is separated by walls, and connected by doors and corridors, but this is a more open and mysterious place. It is playful and social—roofs become floors, walls become windows - inversions are plentiful. 

Aside from the playful complexity of the volumes, the interior is refined and oh-so-minimal. White and timber surfaces—as simple as that!

Occupying the interstitial

Here, we get a glimpse of what in may be like to occupy one such inversion. An interstitial void is created between the roof of one room and the roof of the greater enclosure. 

It is intended for occupation,  and it offers itself as a surface to recline, to relax, to retreat. 

Various connections

The various spaces are all connected to the greater living volume—a little city with visual and physical links. For more inspiration around creating the perfect social space for you home, you're sure to find some ideas that pique your interest here!

For another home that take on qualities of an entire town, you may like to take a look at A House in Korea that Looks Like a Mini City!

Let us know what you thought of this unusual home in the comments below!
by FingerHaus GmbH - Bauunternehmen in Frankenberg (Eder) Modern

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