Pit House by
UID Architects


Circular hollows create sunken rooms and curved balconies inside this wooden house in Japan by UID Architects (+ slideshow).

Pit House by UID Architects

The residence is named Pit House, in reference to the six excavated spaces that provide circular living rooms inside the building and terraces in the garden.

Pit House by UID Architects

"Since the clients lived in the upper storey of a company residence before, they demanded to connect with the earth," explained architect Keisuke Maeda. "The concept is inevitably drawn from the request of the clients, and the context of the site. It becomes a subterranean room with little influence of the open air, and a relationship with the external surface of the earth."

Pit House by UID Architects

A cedar box encases the house and is propped up on stick-like legs so that it appears to hover above the sunken ground floor.

Pit House by UID Architects

A large rectangular opening reveals a recessed balcony behind the facade, which branches out from an L-shaped first floor.

Pit House by UID Architects

Circular holes in this upper floor line up with the shapes of the rooms below, creating a curved balcony around the edge of the two bedrooms.

Pit House by UID Architects

A concrete cylinder stretches up from the lower floor to the roof, enclosing a circular bathroom and a storage closet, while a staircase spirals around its perimeter.

Pit House by UID Architects

Other projects we've featured by UID Architects include a timber house at the foot of a mountain and a residence comprising four cedar-clad blocks.

Pit House by UID Architects

See more Japanese houses on Dezeen »

Pit House by UID Architects

Photography is by Koji Fujii/Nacása & Partners.

Pit House by UID Architects

Here's some more information from the architects:

The house positions itself in Okayama Prefecture near Seto Inland Sea. The site is located on a terraced mountain hill that was developed as a residential land. The family is consisted of a married couple and a child. We considered a new way of architecture on the site condition, where views are open towards the north and the ground level is one meter higher than the road level.

Pit House by UID Architects

The relationship is as if the site's natural environment and the architecture coexist at the same time. The architecture has become a part of the whole landscape of undivided environment, not simply thinking about connection to the surroundings from the cut off opening in walls.

Pit House by UID Architects

This time, we came up with a living form that accepts the outside environment such as surface of the terraced land, surrounding neighboring houses’ fences and walls, residences that sit along the slope and far beyond mountains. The architectural principle is not a division from the land with a wall, but an interior that is an extension of the outside and connection of the surface like a pit dwelling that is undivided from the land.

Pit House by UID Architects

In concrete, six types of floor levels including a round floor that is created by digging the surface are connected with a concrete cylinder core at the center. Furthermore, delicate and multiple branch-like columns that support the slightly floating boxes produce various one-room spaces.

Pit House by UID Architects

Environment and architecture create new extensive relationship by connecting surfaces. The territory is undefined in the space in a body sense. I think that is more natural relationship of an architecture standing in a landscape

Pit House by UID Architects

Name project: Pit house
Architects: UID - Keisuke Maeda

Pit House by UID Architects

Exploded axonometric - click above for larger image

Stuctural engineers: Konishi Structural Engineers - Yasutaka Konishi, Takeshi Kaneko, structural;
Environmental: Toshiya Ogino Environment Design Office - Toshiya Ogino
General contractor: Nakamura Construction Co.Ltd. - Hiromi Nakamura,Yasunobu Hida, Keizou Yoshioka, Kazuhiko Kiminami

Pit House by UID Architects

Ground floor plan - click above for larger image and key

Structural system: steel structure
Exterior: ceder plate, wood protection paint,
Interior: structual plywood, exposed concrete, wood protection paint, cherry flooring

Pit House by UID Architects

First floor plan - click above for larger image and key

Site area: 232.12 sq m
Built area: 115.32 sq m
Total floor area: 116.66 sq m
Date of completion: October 2011

Pit House by UID Architects

Section - click above for larger image and key

  • dickie Smabers

    Can somebody please explain to this ignorant idiot that’s me, why in every recent photoshoot of a Japanese house there is at least one person (preferably a woman) sitting with their feet over the edge of floor?

    What am I missing?

    • http://dailygrail.com/ Red Pill Junkie


  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com Chuck Anziulewicz

    It's utterly wonderful.

  • Andy

    It’s a beautiful interior and, admittedly, I’d move in tomorrow, but isn’t having a kitchen directly under your bedroom basically a guarantee your bed is going to smell like whatever you cook? I don’t see a fan over the stove.

  • stephan

    Keisuke Maeda is one of the most interesting architects I know these days. I guess for western people it would be hard to live in one of his houses but I love the way inside and outside is treated here. His houses since 2009 are exiting – kind of living sculptures. The tradition of a Japanese yard house has found a modern expression and opens to the public. That is unusual in Japan. My favorite of UID/Maeda is the “Atelier Bisque Doll” house.

    Dezeen: In “See also” another UID house is missing: http://www.dezeen.com/2011/05/13/nest-by-uid-arch

  • http://michaelschoner.de Michael

    Same house, different geometry. Same topic that Sou Fujimoto had in one of his early projects.

    The Japanese are on their own in between split-level trip. Must be nice to be in between.

  • Jason K.

    Absolutely beautiful structure!

    One hangup for me, though: I wouldn't want foot traffic happening right above my cooktop. Dirty shoes/feet aside—where do dust particules end up when they're agitated by someone walking past?

  • Karl

    Everything looks very nice, I do like the design. The only thing of concern that caught my attention was the plywood interior finish. My experience tells me that this may become an issue over time.

  • http://www.dave-morris.net Dave Morris

    That kid is going to be losing their toys over the edge all the time. And it's probably just me being overly conventional, but I'd want some kind of bedroom wall and/or door arrangement.

    Still, it's a fun idea and very nicely detailed!

  • OgierdeBeauseant

    Diagram as house. Take the compass and draw a bunch of circles and let the owners fit into the leftover space.

  • http://www.gcostudios.com Linaka

    That’s a beautiful space. I’d love to live there! I like the idea of the indoor garden.

  • Gigi

    The balcony doesn’t look very kid-friendly to me.

    The design in general is absolutely beautiful though.