Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui
Architect & Associates

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Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

This house in a mountain region outside of Tokyo by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates is composed of five connected cottages.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

Each of the larch-clad cottages of Inbetween House varies in size and has a different single roof pitch, with overhangs that overlap one another to create connections internally.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

The buildings have a fan arrangement on site that adds further variation to the shape of the interior spaces, from which there are wide views of the surrounding landscape.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

Photography is by Iwan Baan

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

More Japanese houses on Dezeen »

Here are some further details from the architects:


The client chose the sloped site surrounded by Japanese larch trees and located in a mountainous region, an hour away from Tokyo on a bullet train, as their ideal location for their home where they can retreat from their busy work in the city.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

The house sits on an artificially leveled area of the site created thirty years ago and left unused. Since the client wanted a house seamlessly blend into the natural surrounding, topography and local culture, we designed this house as a collection of small mountain cottages.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

It consists of five single pitched roof cottages that are clad in the local larch wood siding. Rather than using a complex construction technology, it is built in a traditional Japanese wood construction method so that local builders can skillfully craft each structural wood member. Each cottage varies in size to fit its function and set on site at 30 degree increments to best fit the topography and to face unique views.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

All cottage roofs have varying slopes and overhangs that touch the overhangs of adjacent cottages, creating gap spaces between these cottages, a simulacrum of alleys in a city. The triangular “connecting” roofs span between these overhangs to capture these gap spaces as a single fluid public interior space, which serves as a living room or a circulation space and feels like being outside looking at mountains in the distance. Since these connecting roofs bend & fold to connect the cottages at multiple angles & heights, the in-between space results in a spatial & structural warpage.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

The design intent of this house is not the final architectural form, but rather, establishing a set of design rules of cottage placements and connections, which allows the house to be freely arranged to satisfy any requirements and adoptable to any future changes or additions, prolonging its building life.

Inbetween House by Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates

Place: Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan
Architect: Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates, Koji Tsutsui, Satoshi Ohkami
Structural Engineers: ANARCHItects(CG), Hirotsugu Tsuboi
General contractor: Sasazawa Construction, Inc.
Photographer: Iwan Baan
Site Area: 1956.16m2
Floor Area: 178.43m2
Completion Year: 2010

  • Ummmm

    I don't understand japanese architecture. It is a new kind ;-)

  • david

    very theatrical, and very beautiful. many good things to say about it but plainly, a very well thought out "ambience"

  • fergus

    I'd love to see drawings to help me understand the scheme!

  • Akeel

    I'm madly in love with japanese architecture! i just hope it doesn't come in between me and my girl.

  • Emerson

    Quite Scandinavian really. I'd like to live there. A superb location.

  • kdlr

    Ditto on the drawings – plans would be great to be able to appreciate the relationship and interconnection of the buildings. Great scheme…

  • http://www.jwsmithdesign.com Tampa Architects

    Wow… I could see myself living in something like this. Amazing designs. Thanks for sharing.

  • lucienneli

    kind of alvar aalto

  • terre

    Funny to see a comment from Tampa Architect – must be a name not a location. No architect in the city of Tampa has ever had an original idea, unfortunately.