Photo by Kenichi Suzuki
Looking for Stable Indoor Climate
Located in the cloudy mountain area in the north of Hyogo, this house was designed for a couple and their children. It
was a challenge to create a bright and stable indoor climate.
Three archetypal houses were arranged on a grey platform, which was 1.8m in height.
The plot was a new residential area developed from a slope. Thus the ground was excavated till it reached to the
firm ground. The level of the first floor was set on 760mm below the ground, which helped under floor heating system
with heat storage on the foundation to work effectively, utilizing terrestrial heat. Owing to the close distance from the
ground to the roof top, the whole area including the house itself was expected to be used as a garden. The lower roof
level keeps wide visibility of surrounding environment, which contributes to this new residential area.
Spatial Layout of ‘Courtyards’
Three archetypal houses on the platform contain a guest room, sanitary space and a sunroom. The latter two rooms
provide lighting and ventilation in the ground floor. In that way, these rooms work as overhead courtyards spatially
connected to the space below. Especially, the sunroom collects heat in winter, while it brings fresh air into the interior
and exhausts heat through five motor-operated windows in summer. Rather than the upper volumes, the volume
under those contains living space. Therefore, the residents can keep a distance from neighbors not to be disturbed
their privacy. At the same time, it gets closer to the exterior -garden and children playing outside- and an ambiguous
distance -both close and far- was brought into the house.
The area was on the border between a field and new residential area turned from a part of it, soon to be occupied
by ready built houses in the near future. Materials and scale used here, such as corrugated sheets and a volume
similar to an agricultural hut, was brought by reference to the surrounding rural landscape. The house with these
characteristics is expected to relate the existing landscape to the new residential area.
For Free ‘Behavior’ of Things
In this house, a variety of elements merge and those meanings become relative to each other, crate-like boxes
containing storage and a toilet; benches combined with balustrades; a washstand along a stairwell serving as a
handrail; a sunroom like a greenhouse.
In such design, we expect to create freedom in rooms, where many things
can be brought in and used in everyday life much more freely
Two of three upper volumes: the bathroom and the light room are covered with corrugated polycarbonate sheets,
through which the sunlight comes into the rooms.
Space in between the corrugated panels and structural frames are filled with moisture and water absorbing heat
retaining sheets to insulate walls and roofs. Additionally, interior polycarbonate walls create an insulation layer. The
ceiling and walls of the bathroom are further filled up with light transmitting thermal insulation, a material reproduced
from PET bottles. To make the first floor close to the ground floor, 50 mm square pipes were laid around the opening
between both floors. Those were sandwiched by floor materials and ceiling panels to form an 80 mm floor. This
opening is closed by a shading device during extremely hot hours in summer and extremely cold nights in winter.
The outer walls of the platform are cladded with fiber reinforced cement boards, leaving a little space under the
layer to make rainwater drop off easily, and to make a contrast on façade by shades. The concrete foundation is
insulated from the outside, and the ground surface around it is covered by gravels to drain rain water and keep thermal