House of Spread by FORM/Kouichi Kimura


Japanese studio FORM/Kouichi Kimura have completed a house in Shiga, Japan, that spreads out from a central courtyard.

Called House of Spread, the single-storey home has a dining room, bathroom and bedroom bordering the courtyard while a living room and Buddhist altar are positioned deeper in the house, further away from direct daylight light.

A rock in the courtyard and tower on one side of the building are intended to distract inhabitants' gaze from the surrounding buildings.

Photographs are by Takumi Ota.

The text that follows is from Kouichi Kimura:

House of spread

This is the house for a couple aged 30-something.

When I began to design the house, the client requested that the living room should be connected to a Japanese room, and that a Buddhist altar be appointed in the Japanese room.

These two requests strongly reminded me of the “Japanese” space, which has become a starting point to make the entire concept of the architecture and to design this house.

To make good use of benefit of the spacious site, we planned a one-storied building that surrounds a courtyard. For a Japanese-style space in which to appreciate the garden, the flat building reflects aesthetic values of the Japanese.

We avoided the living room and Japanese room from being faced with the courtyard, which only allows indirect light to reach these rooms. The spaces therefore become dim, imparting “Japanese” taste.

This also produces expectation for the sunlit courtyard. You can feel brightness of the courtyard only when you get to the dining room beyond the living room.

In contrast, the dining room, bed rooms, and bath room are faced with the courtyard, taking in plenty of sunlight.

The courtyard, which looks like abstraction of the Japanese garden, features the carefully positioned natural rock and the tower that rises vertically from the exterior wall.

These two elements are intended to gather the line of sight of people in the room, and thus to keep their attention away from the mundane landscape expanding outside the architecture.

For this house, the relation between the courtyard and each room has been carefully considered to determine the position.

The flow lines from the courtyard spread the “Japanese” spaces around the architecture that involves various feelings inside.

Architects: FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects
Location: Shiga, Japan
Client: Private
Construction Year: 2010
Site Area: 707,21m2
Constructed Area: 152,33m2
Photographs: Takumi Ota

Posted on Monday March 22nd 2010 at 6:10 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy


    Beautiful house but WHY no plans? Is there any problem to show them? Anybody afraid about copies or anything else? We love plans, trust me!

  • DK

    So dark and gloomy

  • I like the thought of wrapping living spaces around a courtyard. The courtyard in the spread looks as if it may be designed for koi.

  • bebo

    the courtyard looks like an oven tray…but the interior looks beautiful.

  • Micha

    Dark, mysterious, eerie and it looks like it’s haunted. Not a place to live. Good place to film japanese horror films.

  • kovo

    It looks like a grey prison. I cant imagine any reason why someone wouldn’t want natural light in their living room, unless it was to watch projected cinema … feels like they made “japanese style” a scapegoat for a lot of design errors, and the tower to draw the eye? Its boring. And last but not least, in fact it probably is the largest waste of space in the plan … that courtyard is more like a boardwalk … did they have a short budget? Many more things to “distract inhabitants’ gaze” could have been placed there. Better yet, why not make it double story to hide the surrounding buildings … not a fan. Great photos though.

  • jed_

    nice place to be incarcerated

  • andreas

    this is so good! ,

    I think it has a very high level of esthetic and cultural complexety.

    if i was this good i would be a very happy architect.

  • JP

    Too gloomy even the court
    surely not a pleasant place to live specially that the house looks like it is in a nice suburban private residences

  • ads

    Tada ando and Shigeru ban are influenced by western architects. Why are these young japanese architects keep doing the same thing in different colours over and over again.

    They should emulate their starchitects and also old japanese buildings are good classic designs that ideas can be developed on, but these guys keeping on giving us different kind of boxes arranged in different style and the call it minimalism.

    Its now getting repulsive !!!!!!

    • 1plus2minus3

      Agreed, this house feels like a home base for killing machines… ninjas perhaps! No heart.

  • Obscurity

    Shiga is known for its Buddhist traditions preserved by the pious community.
    Images 6 & 9 show the Buddhist family altar set in the wall can be covered with a mobile door to make it look as part of the interior. Following the tradition and having an altar of this size in the house is becoming rare in urban areas.
    How to come to terms with new waves of development migh be posing a problem like in many other countries.

  • Hank

    I think that inner courtyard would have a much higher aesthetic value if it was a completely traditional japanese garden by filling it in, not just one little square. I’m just looking at the images of the courtyard without the little rock and it looks like a covered pool, which is not something you want a house to surround.

  • cubism mediocrity.

  • life is dark too, so the architecture introduce that with art and beauty

    great project