In this installment of our Unique Homes in Japan series, let’s take a look at a sleek, modern home inspired by how the pre-historic hunter-gatherers of Japan lived.
In the Jomon period (from about 12,000BC to about 300BC), the pre-historic peoples of Japan lived in pit-dwelling houses, in which columns were inserted into a big hole dug in the ground and then surrounded by grass.
Pit dwellings, like the one in the image above, were one of the design inspirations for the house that the architects of Suppose Design Office built for their clients on what was originally a small, grassy plot.
Another consideration was that the “bearing stratum,” which is the soil or rock layer which carries the load of the foundation, was found to be about one meter underground. Rather than raising the load-bearing foundation layer, the architects decided from the beginning to bury half of the house underground.
The soil leftover from excavating the ground was used to make the small hill surrounding the house, which acts as both a privacy barrier and a garden. The underground portion of the house is surrounded by glass but shielded from neighbors, a clever solution to the owners’ desire for a “bright, open-hearted space” with privacy.
The walls of the upper floors are composed entirely by the pyramid-shaped roof.
Each floor is connected by the hole made for the skylight in the roof.
The house is located in Saijo, a town in Hiroshima prefecture and (for Japan) has a relatively spacious floor area of 246 square meters (about 2,647 square feet). It was completed in 2007.
You may also be interested in: “Living Inside a Mountain in Kagawa Prefecture“