House in Kamakura by
Suppose Design Office



Japanese architects Suppose Design Office have completed a house in Kamakura, Japan, which consists of a steel frame constructed between two concrete shafts.


The residence is built directly on an uneven plot of land, and the design aims to overcome the expected structural issues.


The concrete shafts are installed in the ground at different levels, slightly distanced from the retaining wall.


This design and method of construction enabled the architects to keep excavation work to a minimum, a time consuming process usually essential when building on uneven land.


The void between the entrance in the lower shaft and the next level of the stepped site is used as a private garden.


Here are further details from Suppose Design Office:


House in Kitakamakura

Among the plots of land for sale in Kita Kamakura there are some sites in the outskirts which at first glance have the negative condition of being uneven.


This is a plan to create an appealing living space by building directly over that uneven land.


From an architectural standpoint, with an upper and lower level, the influence of the footing and other aspects cause too many uncertainties in the support of the retaining wall.


So, we propose to set concrete shafts slightly away from the wall and create a steel frame between the shafts in order to insure the safety of the living space and the site at the same time.


This also helps to keep the excavation which accompanies construction work on uneven sites to a minimum.


In addition, the space between the two levels which is created by the shafts and the retaining wall can be used as a garden.


Many kinds of natural spaces can be created, such as a Japanese Garden, Bath Terrace, or Green Garden.


The concrete will create a quiet, enclosed space, while an open space is created by the steel framework.


Through these two structural forms you can feel connected to the surrounding nature in this wonderful living space.


With just a few techniques we can overturn the stereotypes associated with this type of site.


What was once viewed as a site with poor building conditions can be changed into land with great possibilities.


Rather than looking at the negative side, we would like to continue searching for these possibilities by accepting all that these sites have to offer.



Posted on Tuesday June 9th 2009 at 12:15 am by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Jeroen

    Fantastic! Totally logical and absolutely beautiful. A benchmark.

  • obayashi

    What an understated, elegant and unassuming house. The architect has done an excellent job in integrating the building well into the challenging sloping site. From the section, the house seems to have grown out of the land naturally, and with minimal intervention to the context. Tremendous thought has also gone into executing the details, though simple but speak volume on the seamless integration of concrete, steel and timber.

  • rodger


  • djvd

    wow, saving time in the morning by preparing breakfast while taking a shower!
    Really a strange second floor 1 plan.

  • Beautiful details and real quality of materials, for a very poetic city, Kamakura… Is there any connection between the aesthetic of this house and the museum of modern art (SAKAKURA Junzō, disciple of Corbusier)?

  • well, i’m just worried for the slope of retaining wall..
    may be it’s too risky when the hard rain is fall..
    anw, good design, great workmanship.. :)

  • wentao

    entrance looks too cold

  • James

    Nice house, but seriously the 6th picture down screams “I’M GOING TO LEAK LIKE A SIEVE”

  • zee

    Great design.

    The architect has efficiently and successfully overcome the enevitable challenges of building on an uneven land.

  • slater

    correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t the bath room adjacent to the dining/kitchen area and it looks like there isn’t much privacy. I hope that sliding door isn’t glass as I assume it is… Other than that, I love this project, well done!

  • onvn

    Japanese architects are the best!! They create beauty out of what people conveniently discredit.. Although it might be of great possibilities and potential, sites like these wont be kind to the client’s finances, would it? Great fun for the architects though!

  • Bruce

    @ James – The sloped retaining wall does not touch the structure; it drains to the north terrace.

    @ slater – The sliding glass doors appear to have sand-blasted glass for those too modest to shower in the open and the wc (or toilet) is enclosed.

    A beautiful solution for one not dissuaded by the suggestion that all of the good sites have already been taken.

  • 2melow

    i love this guys work…it the one of the best arks in Japan.

  • openhousebcn

    wow… cool place… so open

  • rock

    beautiful, + nicely articulated construction

  • it looks like the space between 2 steps is enormous ! 20 cm or so ? (I’m sorry, that shocked me)

  • Laurent

    Really beautiful detailing but the interior spaces miss the wow factor somehow. Bathroom next to the dining room but disconnected to the bedroom lacks logic. But it is a private house so if users agree to that, why not.