SHIRASU house by ARAY Architecture

The resident did not rely on energy in South Kyushu of high temperature and humidity, and hoped for ecology life with the environment.The wind of land is felt, rain water is saved, and it enjoys gardening. It is native life. The site is a residential quarter that extends on a Shirasu plateau near from the Kagoshima City downtown. I then thought native house(Sustainable-house) with the soil (Shirasu) as the material that formed this plateau native by the made Shirasu block.

Shirasu has a lot of characteristics in other geological features like fireproof, adiabaticity, the humidity conditioning, thermal storage, and lightness, etc. without. Pressurizing and construction it the technology of a monotonous block in Shirasu for the pavement that had begun to spread in the city was made the best use of, and production with the block for the construction of Shirasu was tried for the first time. To secure material strength, the outside wall block changed mixing Shirasu. It inlaid with the raw ore of Shirasu to improve the adsorption and desorption of moisture to the inner wall block. At the same time, The character of this Shirasu appears as an expression of the memory accumulating to the block. The house where in all outer had been piled up on an inside and outside midair layer double wall became a space wrapped in the soil like the cave in Shirasu.

This inside and outside midair layer double wall has reduced the thermal loading to the inside. In addition, the inner wall block surrounds like finish in any room of the house, and adjusts the indoor humidity. Therefore, the inside is chilly cool, and warm summer in winter. It is a steady throughout the year thermal environment. It proposed the energy performance of underground resources accumulated in the Shirasu plateau.
And House of Shirasu block masonry which reused the volcanic soil, is the new Sustainable-house of environmental recycling.

In addition, The green roof of the Shirasu block, lightweight Shirasu block plays the role of soil. Therefore, it is to reduce the burden of the roof load.The green roof of the Shirasu block, also can improve housing energy efficiency while positively impacting the quality of the urban environment.
And now, The resident is enjoying the life with familiar nature, stopping installation of an air conditioner oneself and leaving control of a thermal environment to the shirasu block wall and roof.

Name of Project: SHIRASU
Architects: ARAY Architecture
Location: Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Architect In Charge: Asei Suzuki
Structural design: tmsd & takashi manda structural design
Contractor: tagzhaus
Site Area: 228.9 sqm
Building Area: 88.0 sqm
Floor Area: 143.9 sqm
Date of completion: 2013.07.15. 
Photographs: DAICI ANO Co., Ltd.

1% showroom by Noiz Architects

This is a renovation/interior design project for a 37m2 showroom for a women’ fashion brand “1%” by Shuhei Ogawa, located in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.

We choose cool colors for the interior to create a clear contrast with the bright color palette of women’s clothing. The pipe chandelier, hung from the center, illuminates the space effectively, while adding a bright accent color in the neutral setting.

The main wall, partition walls and a stage are all composed of concrete block.The joint mortar is spread thinly to create a blurred grid pattern on the surface, creating a gentle and feminine texture on the rough and masculine concrete block surface.

Other elements are painted pale blue, which is the signature color of 1%.
The floor is coated with epoxy resin, creating a reflection as if the space is filled with water.

In order to define a spatial division between the showroom and the neighboring brand shop, we divided the bottom of the beam along the centerline and painted the half part on the showroom side pale purple. Also blue glass partition wall is inserted at the centerline, creating a delicate spatial division defined by beautiful colors.

Project title: 1%
Category: interior design/renovation
Building type: Shop (women’s apparel)
Floor area: 37m2
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Status: built
Photographer: Daichi ANO


MoyaMoya by Fumihiko Sano

This is the residence in the commuter town in the suburb of Tokyo.

We constructed the studio where our client could study and dye kimonos, her chief hobby, as the center of the house; also, we tried to provide the place to communicate and interact, accepting foreign students after her kids leave the home.
The shape of the building plot is a huge square (9100*9100), and it slopes and spreads north and south. Because of the slating ground, a private space was settled in the northern part commanding a fine view. An open ceiling studio is connected to a kitchen, so that allows the client to have a big party as she desires. Considering when she ages in the future, her bedroom, a study room, and other infrastructures are placed on the first floor. Other single rooms, a living room, and a Japanese style room are on the second floor; moreover, you can enjoy a fine prospect with Mt. Fuji from the living room.

When we look at this project from a different perspective, the most significant characteristic of this construction is the stainless steel fence which surrounds the building. By creating the space which makes the border between the inside and the outside of the building vague, the inside thereof is difficult to see from the outside. In terms of security, significant effects can be also expected.

A moire pattern is generated since the stainless steel is doubled, and it makes people feel as if they are in the inside even if they are in the outside.
Being swayed by the wind, the stainless steel fence shines and causes a great variety of the moirepatterns. The angle and strength of the light are certainly changed by time – morning, afternoon, evening, and night. The change of the light creates not only gripping moire patterns, but also gives different and diverse impressions to the house. This is the place where people can closely enjoy the transitions of time, seasons, and climates through the house.

Completion date: May 2014
studio PHENOMENON by Fumihiko Sano
Location: Higashikurume, Tokyo, Japan


House F by Kenji Ido

The house is designed for a couple, and is a wooden three stories house that is built at urban narrow site. Around the site is the mixed-use area where small houses, small factories, and small office buildings coexist together without any harmony. The client requested a garden in the south side of the site, and decided to make a building three stories to secure required rooms.

It aimed at a quiet, soft space with the wood and the paint finished wall. The space with a brightness and openness was secured, and the space was contrasted with spaces with density The beam of the void where the wind pressure had been received and the counter of kitchen were produced in the same material, elements were united, and “Meaning” of the beam and the counter was obscured. I made “the blank” where the light and the color tone change by progress of time were felt.

Project Name: House F
Use: residence
Site: Osaka, Japan
Architect : Kenji Ido / Ido, Kenji Architectural Studio
Design period : November. 2008 – August. 2009
Construction period : October. 2009 – February. 2010
Structural engineer : Masakazu Taguchi / Taguchi Atelier Planning Structure
Structure system: timber construction
Total floor area is 116.73 sqm.
building area is 53.25 sqm.
Plot area is 102.58 sqm.
Building scale: 3 storeys
Photography is by Takumi Ota.

I-House by Masahiko Sato

Masahiko Sato is the name of a Japanese architect who designed the I-House in Nagasaki, Japan. The structure stands atop a small hill, easily recognizable from the street due to its bright white colour and its intriguing shape. Facing the sea on south it benefits of a seemingly ideal location for any project. An important aspect of this design was to minimize the impact on its surroundings, including the hill in which the house is embedded. The house is accessible by a winding path. Inhabitants enter the first floor and can access three more levels – one lower and two higher. The facade oriented towards the street is almost completely windowless in order to guide all of the sight and views towards the sea. Another advantage of this house is a sloped facade enabling an abundance of light to enter the interior.


Light Stage House by Future Studio

Future studio from Japan created a house that is very strange and unorthodox on the first glance, situated in Hiroshima, Japan. Maybe the most striking aspect of the house is its uncommon shape, resembling an ellipse in footprint. Similar curves are reflected in the interior as well, mainly the stairs or the kitchen unit. All in all, the house offers around a 100 square meters of habitable room. Its name, “Light stage house”, hints the intent of the architect – ideal lighting of interior, likening the house to a stage.

Light gets inside through angular windows, placed feignedly randomly around the whole footprint. Light is in this case considered as the most important agent influencing the quality of life of its inhabitants. Even though all the characteristics sound a little bit complicated, the house looks surprisingly soft and simple.


NA House in Tokyo by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Japanese office Sou Fujimoto Architects is no newcomer to the architectonic scene. Quite the contrary, they belong to the most known and respected. Their handwriting is clearly visible on the NA House in Tokyo, Japan. Some may consider the label „house“ as innapropriate, since the whole structure is based on transparency. The integral and most prominent element is the steel framework which creates a grid or a spatial raster.

The house consists of several seemingly randomly elevated levels, and none of the staircases are larger than six steps. This project is a “must-see“ for any architecture lover. Same as the case with Villa Shodhan by Le Corbusier – to fully understand and appreciate the wholeness and the three-dimensional beauty of this project one needs to experience it in person.

photos: Iwan Baan

Cube Court House by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

In Tokyo, Japan, an another example of simple Japanese architecture arose. Creators of this family house, situated in a calm villa ward of a city, populated by several millions of people, are a group of architects Shinichi Ogawa & Associates. Nowadays, a lot of houses are being stamped with the label “minimalistic”, even though it’s not always fitting. But in this case, the word “minimalistic” is well earned. The house has a simple white facade.

Only a single prismal piece protrudes to the street, and it is ended off with a transparent wall, that is meant to make the expression of the house something special. The house has three floors, with the highest one being an open glasshouse, covering only some parts of the second floor. The house is designed in a way that creates enough rooms for maximum privacy. An unique characteristic of the house besides the front facade is the inner atrium, through which the light is channeled into the interiors.


Wood Old House by Tadashi Yoshimura Architects

A project for a renovation of a traditional town house built 200 years ago in Nara, Japan, comes from the works of Tadashi Yoshimura. The old house consists of several smaller structures interconnected by garden walkways and atriums. The repairs focused mostly on replacement of interior materials. The main construction and the facade remained without intervention. Materials such as japanese cedar, pine, mud plastering and traditional translucent paper screens were used for individual interior blocks.

The open walkways that connect these blocks promote ventilation and bring daylight into the interior space. Some of the blocks are equipped with sliding wall panels, which allow to reconfigure or extend the space.


Yusuhara wooden bridge museum by Kengo Kuma associates

This project comes from the hands of the Tokyo/Paris based practice Kengo Kuma + Associates and is located in Yusuhara, a town in the Kochi prefecture, Japan. Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum embodies a fusion of traditional Japanese design and contemporary architectonic thinking and strives to harmonically coexist with the surrounding natural landscape. Alternating arrangement of interwoven wooden beams creates a construction which floats in the air, supported by a single central pillar.

Glass shafts with steel framework stand on each end of the bridge and due to their transparency blend in with the background vegetation. A triangular form of the museum is inspired by the shapes of a nearby hill and an adjacent building. The overlapping layers of wood are transcribed into the ceiling indoors where the same inverted triangle form is also apparent.


House in Izumi – Ohmiya by Tato Architects

Japanese architects of Tato Architects turned a warehouse in Osaka, Japan into a family house where the residents can climb their walls to enter various rooms. The two-storey house designed for a young couple – rock climbing enthusiasts, has a sloped wooden wall with affixed treads for climbing practice on its first floor. The double-height living room and the dining area govern almost half of the residence, and contain a ladder as a shortcut to the main bedroom. During the renovation, the exterior of the building was re-clad in galvanized steel.

Original window frames were also removed and replaced by a single large window. Program of the house contains two rooms on the entry floor, along with hygienical and technical facilities, wardrobe, kitchen and residential space. The second floor is dominated by a large study/workroom and the main bedroom.


Outside-In House by Takeshi Hasaku

A family house „Outside In“ by japanese architect Takeshi Hosaka is surely impossible to miss. It stands out and proves, that there is a valid alternative to living in traditional homes. The conceptional intent of the autor – to bring the outside world into the interior, was clearly a success. The construction began in june 2010 and was completed nearly 10 months later.

Behind a transparent movable wall is a garden, which serves as a dining area. The building has only one floor with maximum height of 3.4 m and an irregularily structured roof. Between the gables which define the inner space are light-shafts which are primary sources of lighting for the whole interior. The concrete shell is in contrast with wood used for the built-in furniture.


Urban Hut by Takehiko Nez architects

An „urban hut“, a house by Takehiko Nez Architects grew on a 30m2 lot in downtown Tokyo, resembling more a multi-storey flat than a family house. This residence designed for young couples is meant to be further customized and personalized. Authors needed to illuminate this small and narrow space naturally, and achieved this by a roof light above the central staircase, which supplies the light into every level of the house. To increase the comfort of living, each floor is conceived as an open space, without any interior partitioning. A speciality of the house is the top floor, a designated sleeping space. The height zoning is segmented in a way resembling a theatre scene, giving the whole space an dynamic appeal. As usual within the japanese architecture – less is sometimes more.


Complex House by Tomohiro Hata

Design of this complex house is the work of Japanese architectionic office Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates. It is located in Nagoya, the fourth largest city of Japan. The house is characteristic by its segmented facade, which interconnects the volumes with staggered roofline with alternately arragned roof slants. This layout of the mass creates an inner atrium, which acts as a calm oasis in the busy city centre.

Surface of the house is clad in metallic casing while leaving spaces for the windows. The entrance, located southwest, leads residents to the central corridor, which is lit by the adjoined atrium. Sanitary facilities are located on the entry floor, along with the guest rooms and the main living area with a kitchen. First floor is designed for childrens’ rooms and a bedroom. Minimalistic interior creates space for the trademark feature of the house – its shape – to stand out.


Apartment in Katayama by Mitsutomo Matsunami Architect

Mitsutomo Matsunami took the task to fit an apartment block onto a 110m2 lot and at the same time to not cross a very tight budget as a challenge. His idea was to break away from the uniform stereotype of residential blocks of flats, with windows stacked neatly next to each other. Katayama Apartment consists of seven floors above ground, which are divided into ten flats accessible by an elevator and stairs on the northern side. Several of the flats are in designed in a high-ceiling maisonette style covering 2 floors, which is clearly visible on the southern facade.

The design of the facade itself also takes fire safety into account, which was an additional challange in the development, resulting into an original, variable pattern of the balconies, which still abides the emergency evacuation standards. The life and motion of the interior are projected outwards by the facade, in order to emit the liveliness and energy onto the old fashioned monotonous neighbourhood of Katayama in Osaka. The exterior colours are in a strict black and white combination to enhance the presence of rational minimalism in contrast to the bland beige grey buildings around.


Weekend House in Nasua

The Japanese architecture studio Kazunori Fujimoto Architect & Associates created in the town of Nasua in Japan a weekend house which resembles a miniature castle but not with its exterior but with its functionality. The house is surrounded by high concrete walls which provide privacy to the owners who can rest in the courtyard located in between the two different spaces. One room functions as a living room, dining room and a kitchen as well. This building was created with the aim to offer relaxing space with a tinge of luxury. The complex of two buildings separated by a courtyard was projected with the sense of tidiness and cleanness of shapes to support the spiritual atmosphere of Japan.

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House Awaiting Death by EASTERN design office

“A house awaiting death” – this is what the owner of the house, client of EASTERN design office said. The house will probably be used not longer than 15 years as one becomes older and their needs change. The house offers a view of the magnificent sea in the east where the sun rises so that the owner can enjoy the beginning of every day.

A four-meter wide gravel and dirt road runs to the main door. On the other side of the road there is a golf course where several elderly neighbors enjoy their leisure time. The distance from the site to the sea is only 150 meters and the breadth of the beach extends for 7 kilometers. The windows capture the ever-changing movements of waves that are in close vicinity.


House in Sunami by Kazunori Fujimoto Architect

This house, built on a hill with a breathtaking view on the sea Seto, is a project of architect studio Kazunori Fujimoto Architect. The initial idea of this project was to show, how is it possible to interconnect exterior and interior and bring in the nature. An unusual element is ventilation; air can flow across the house thanks to the gaps that mediate the sea view with an opposite view on the mountains.

Concave roofs catch the eye at first sight, they evoke the impression of the expansion of space. These roofs are made of concrete panels composed of a single layer 120mm thick. The house is light, airy, simple and its construction is based on a reinforced concrete frame. Although the space is simple, its beauty is neatness of the lines and materials.