White Cave House by
Takuro Yamamoto Architects

| 16 comments
 

This house in Kanazawa by Japanese architect Takuro Yamamoto is punctuated by a series of interconnecting voids, including a terrace with a shallow reflecting pool (+ slideshow).

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

The client asked Takuro Yamamoto Architects for a simple building with several outdoor spaces, so the Tokyo-based firm inserted holes into the monolithic structure to create a courtyard and covered parking space on the ground floor, as well as the first floor terrace.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

"The connection of voids – we call it Cave – is the theme of this house," explain the architects, adding that the different voids "serve multiple purposes in order to make up for the space limitations."

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

The house's exterior appears as a plain white volume, with one surface interrupted by an aperture that creates the parking space and a covered entrance passage to protect the owners from the winter snowfall.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

This void continues around a corner, where it becomes a secluded courtyard visible from the open plan kitchen and living space through full-height windows.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Views of the "cave" change throughout the day depending on the angle of the sun, and the architects added the shallow pool on the terrace "because we thought water is inseparable from white caves."

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

The interconnected outdoor spaces also provide a route for snow to be cleared if it starts to build up in winter.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Takuro Yamamoto Architects previously designed a house in Kashiwa, Japan, around an angled central courtyard that divides the surrounding space into smaller rooms.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Other Japanese houses on Dezeen include one with a facade that looks like a picture frame surrounding a courtyard garden and another simple white cube that resembles a block of tofuSee more Japanese houses »

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Cave-like structures have appeared before on Dezeen, including a bathroom showroom by Zaha Hadid and a faceted church hall in Austria. See more caves »

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Photography is by Ken'ichi Suzuki.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Here's a project description from the architects:


White Cave House

White Cave House is a massive lump engraved by a series of voids interconnected in the shape of a kinked tube. The connection of voids - we call it Cave - is the theme of this house.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Internal rooms are designed to enjoy the minimum views of Cave characterized by its whiteness. At the same time, this concept is also the practical solution to realize a courtyard house in Kanazawa city known for heavy snow in Japan.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

The client’s original request was a white minimally-designed house with many external spaces, such as a large snow-proof approach to the entrance, a roofed garage for multiple cars, a terrace facing to the sky, and a courtyard.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

Though a roofed entrance and a garage are desirable for snowy place, it takes so many floor areas away from the internal rooms for the family, while the space and the budget is limited. In addition, courtyard style itself is not suitable to the snowy country because courtyards would be easily buried under snow.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

To solve the problems, we proposed to connect these external spaces to one another with a large single tube, or Cave, and have each part serve multiple purposes in order to make up for the space limitations.

dezeen_White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects_6

We designed Cave unstraight because it prevents passengers outside from seeing through, though it is not closed. By this arrangement, Cave takes a new turn for each part letting in the sunshine while protecting privacy of the courtyard, the terrace, and the internal rooms.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects

The family inside can enjoy the view of Cave changing its contrast throughout a day under the sunshine. Cave also serves as a route to remove snow from the external spaces in winter, otherwise you would be at a loss with a lot of snow in the enclosed courtyard.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

In order to make Cave deserve its name more, we wondered if we could add the reflection of water to the house because we thought water is inseparable from white caves.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects
First floor plan - click for larger image

We eventually figured out that the terrace was an appropriate site to place it. The terrace covered by white waterproof FRP holds a thin layer of water like a white basin.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects
Cross section north to south - click for larger image

On the terrace reflecting the skyview without obstacles, you may feel that Cave has brought you to another world far from the daily life.

White Cave House by Takuro Yamamoto Architects
Cross section east to west - click for larger image

Credits: Takuro Yamamoto Architects
Location: Kanazawa
Use: independent residence
Site area : 493.88m2
Building area : 132.68m2
Total floor area: 172.33m2
Completion: June 2013
Design period: February 2011-September 2012
Construction period: October 2012-June 2013
Structure: Wood
Client: a married couple + a child
Architect: Takuro Yamamoto
Structure design: Yamada Noriaki Structural Design Office
Construction: Ninomiya-Kensetsu

  • James

    I wish the drawings were as elegant and crisp as the photos. Quite nice and simple, the shallow pond is a slick touch.

    • Rutger

      These drawings are simplistic, but why the need for elegant and crisp drawings if you’re able to finish it like this? Today’s architects could focus more on the aesthetics of realisation than aesthetics of tools.

  • Erik

    The air conditioning machine is visible, but why?

  • zizi

    Someone likes Campo Baeza.

    • rubbish

      Someone has very little imagination in producing comments.

    • Crack

      More Tetsuka House really.

  • David Valinsky

    I am taken by the photographs but I find many of the decisions made quite perverse.

    I’m never really convinced by these pure white material-less aescetic boxes of which there have been a spate on Dezeen lately (and appear to be a Japanese convention, do the Japanese really live like this? Without even a cupboard handle? I don’t know! Can anyone enlighten me?) but the perverse elements are really in the planning.

    The site is generous but the house sits in the centre of it making the surrounding strips of land pretty useless as the house doesn’t claim them in any way. Furthermore, while the courtyard is an age-old house type, in this case the already reduced footprint is given over mostly to parking and a courtyard at ground level with the pretty small living spaces hunkering in one corner. Why not surround the courtyard and properly occupy the site?

    At first floor level the main bedroom is located like a hermit’s cave, at great distance from the bathroom and the stairs at the end of a long corridor. I can’t work this out, unless it was a bizarre request of the client.

    Most peculiarly, the pool is included to introduce water but the site plan shows a river/stream bordering the site. I can only think that the already perversely planned house was designed in ‘white space’ and placed on the site afterwards.

    Speaking of white space, I imagine one would need sunglasses on permanently in that courtyard, it’s making my eyes hurt just thinking about it. Definitely need some explanation of the real decision-making process that led to this odd building.

    • amsam

      Thanks David for this thoughtful interrogation of this tried-and-true “white volumes and planes” aesthetic on a practical level. I understand the gorgeous fetish appeal of these photos as much as anybody, but I wonder about the kinds of questions David asks, and also about weathering.

      Presumably this place will be around for some time. When these perfectly white intersecting planes begin to show some age, will their effect be enhanced or totally go to crap?

    • asolitarywave

      The question of occupation is the one that really bothers me. Will the house look rubbish if my child doesn’t leave his toys out in an artfully minimalist way?

    • muma

      Ever been on a building site or actually touched or seen material? Knowing regulations and sociology of Japan? Reading ”contemporary” books or one-minded thinking will bring you nowhere… except to leave frustraticious comments. If you are a quality thinker, you can see that this house is a traditional Japanese with social elements as much as modern. BTW everyone, and I mean everyone polishes a pictures to look better (regarding white colour), it’s a instinctive desire to represent something that you think is beautiful. Skip the logic and economics my friend just for a while and you will make miracles…in the end everything is in a couple of metres man.

  • Yang

    If this is the house of heaven, which is what the designer accomplished, I would recommend people to stay alive.

    • Ying

      Hell yeah.

  • fred

    Definitely a bright art display of volumes, but brutal for an inhabitant on a sunny day. It’s probably okay if it is overcast a lot! I would never try to live here as it’s void of life and resembles a white concrete bunker. I don’t like it. Do they really try to live this way? It seems painful and void of green, life and happiness. Where does the artwork go? Oh yeah, it is the art.

  • Terrirified

    This is my own personal hell.

  • Peter

    Just what the world needs – more designer narcissism. Life is messy. This is bulls***.

  • Gary Walmsley

    HOW IS THIS HOUSE WITH ROOMS AND CORRIDORS ANY MORE CAVELIKE THAN ANY OTHER HOUSE WITH ROOMS AND CORRIDORS?

    (Yes, I’m shouting with annoyance of such nonsense and/or pretence)

    Words have meanings. Is this just architect-babble, or does this architect just have a particularly poor grasp of the English word cave?