Nagano, Japan

Photo: Hiroyuki Hirai


Located at 1570 meters above sea level, near Nagano, the site slopes down at a 20-degree angle to the southeast and has a sweeping view of the surrounding mountains; a primary goal of the design process was to find the best way of framing the magnificent panorama. The overall composition consists of a cylindrical core of 3.7 meters in diameter, containing a bathroom and the kitchen; a square core holding the bedrooms; and a wall running parallel to the adjacent road. The two core structures bear the perpendicular loads and resists the lateral stresses as a cantilever. The floor slab is cantilevered 4.5 meters from the centerline of the building. The single-pitch roof which follows the slope of the site is supported by two laminated-wood beams fixed on top of the cores. The linear wall, roughly finished in masonry, is separate from the roof structure. This wall symbolically expresses the idea that the house will take root into soil and into the natural setting. In addition, it also represents the dramatic effects of opening up the living room to the panoramic views of the mountains - in contrast to the effect at the road level, where the views are completely obstructed.