House in Saijo by Suppose Design Office


Here's the latest in our series of stories about projects by Japanese architects Suppose Design Office: a residence in Saijo, Hiroshima, Japan, based on traditional pit-dwelling houses.

Earth excavated from the site was used to build a wall around the house, creating a room below ground level surrounded by glass but shielded from its neighbours.

Th pyramid-shaped upper storey rises above the glazed level, filled with light from a skylight in the top.

More about Suppose Design Office in our previous stories:

House in Jigozen
House in Sakuragawa
House in Kamakura

The following text is from the architects:


Modern Pit Dwelling
House in Saijo

When I always create, I think that I want to find the charm of the that plan. A client is a couple with three children hoped there are bright openhearted space, and keeping the privacy.

This site is a field before, and bearing stratum is in the minus one meter from the ground side.

Therefore, we thought support according to the composition of not the ground improvement, but a half underground from the beginning of the plan.

The leftover soil by excavating the ground was used to make the hill, enabling the function of the garden on the exterior and guarding their privacy from the house's neighborhood.

The upper floors than a half underground are composed by only the pyramid-shaped roof.

The lighting was taken in the skylight.

The bright, open-hearted space of a underground and first floor of feeling the calm, and the second floor with which light is filled while closing.

Each floor was connected by the hole made for the center of the floor, and they were able to materialize to become the various property.

Posted on Thursday July 9th 2009 at 12:03 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Miguel

    I would love to see photos of the bedroom and also the bathroom.

    Beautiful design!

  • Wybie


  • L Felipe R

    I love it.
    An smart solution to solve the problem of the privacity that the context have making the problem part of the architectonic space solution.

  • Pierre Sinsua

    at first glance it might get critisized as it lacks the homely atmosphere but looking deeper it is obvious the owner treasures his privacy. this is a clever way to compromise in what seems to be a tight and close quarter neighbourhood.

  • d

    awesome space..

  • Same as Miguel… would love to see the bedroom/bath.

  • booh

    I wonder if rainfall would be a problem with where the glass meets the ground? I would LOVE to live in a house that is a bit sunken into the ground, I think it’s a brilliant and economical way to maintain the temperature of your home. I don’t know why houses suddenly evolved out of it, because I love the feeling of walking on a cool basement floor in the morning. There’s nothing better.

  • The decision certainly interesting, continuous glass is hidden from eyes shaft, but the crypt has turned out, and to be below earth level.

  • buh…

    looks more like a monument than a dwelling unit to me. the enclosure of the lower floor looks comfortable with nice scale, but the object is way out of context. i see this in a forest surrounded by trees, if this were in my neighborhood, id be upset.

  • yimyim

    great project, love the concept….
    Planting the house in the ground offers a special atmosphere to the living areas.
    Love the structure also allowing of the open glass treatment – it really floats-
    Very nice…
    mind you, Ive worked with urban designers who might reject its “interaction” with the street…not me! :P

  • peaceful enclosure!

  • Spiral Architect

    the idea is smart. the ground floor space look very cool. interesting what’s going on on upper levels

  • alix

    does’t like it.

    like a tomb or a public facility…what ever i don’t think its neighbor will like it…

  • Juampi Z

    absolutly stunning!

  • dot

    I think it’s stunning too. I love the front facade and that the ground floor is pretty much sunk in. But from the other sides, it triggers me as a pyramid and it reminds me of it being a tomb/monument. Love the interior of it and would love to see the bedroom and bath.

    But, when it rains, this is where it’s going to have problem, how much rainfall do they get? The glass would have marks on it, what if it rains so heavy? What about winter? How much insulation do they get?

  • windbag

    must admit it takes a lot of courage to live in this kind of things, these people must be the laughing stock of the neighbourhood.

  • Scarpasez

    Great idea…ham-fisted execution.

  • Morgan

    It’s absolutely the most elegant-looking, plywood tee-pee in Saijo!

  • bigburgercokelite

    Corbusier’s Firminy church???

  • amazing, amazing, amazing…it can even be a resort hotel alike price too.

  • eliodorobigi
  • zee

    Nice porblem solving and nice design accordingly. But i dont like it.

  • Q

    it looks like the cremation chamber in the cemitery near my house =)

    cool house

  • I can’t tell if this is gorgeous or hideous, so I suppose it’s what the French call “jolie-laide”. And that, of course, is precisely what makes it so compelling.

  • jean claude

    Just beautiful….i think this is building is at the same time, contextual, funny. landmark, and a wonderful place to live…simple idea, nice texture….interesting project..what more is architecture about

  • bara

    LE CORBUSIER style, copy of Firmini chapel

  • How did you make the bedrooms comply with the emergency egress, light & ventilation code requirements. Do the wall panels have opperable window panels, which are not apparrent from the outside?

  • Ma Bö

    This is well thought trough. This is design, not only cool styling no its new at makes sence. I love this housing. I want it too.

    Hey and Steve don´t be so shy. Thing more dutch. This makes more fun then to be unseen ;))

  • Jennifer

    what a great idea and a relief to see modern aesthetic applied to somthing other than a box

    While i understand that it is a lived in space, i agree, i would like to see an interior shot of the upstairs, i am curious to see how the light works.

  • Jennifer

    oh, thanks eliodorobigi

  • Ricardo Valdez

    I have to agree with some of you, it does have some external Firminy chapel looks, but the spacial concept and conception is totally different, besides it being a different project.

    Regarding code requirements are also a valid question, yet have you wondered or thought about the clients personal y family requirements? In this for ever changing society sometimes the question is no only do the projects fit the requirements, but do the requirements fit the new lifestyles and daily problems? Design has always found a way to deal with day to day existential problems, yet are the established codes being questioned? I do not mean to say that design should not be aware of safety issues, that is that would be out of the question.

    I think its different and positively questionable… great job!

  • martin

    al fin algo distinto bueno, excelente ¡