Criss-crossing wooden beams fill a void
inside Studio Aula's Cocoon House

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A grid of chunky timber beams criss-crosses a void between the ground and first floors to allow light to circulate in this Studio Aula-designed house in Shiojiri, Japan (+ slideshow).

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

The client asked local firm Studio Aula to design a house in a typical urban neighbourhood that integrates traditional Japanese elements and makes the most of the existing garden.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

A narrow plot informed the elongated footprint of the building, which also incorporates a ground-floor bedroom that projects out in front to accommodate the client's elderly mother.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

This bedroom helps to shield a secluded garden containing an old pine tree, as well as a series of stepping stones that create a pathway to the front door.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

The entrance sits on a raised concrete plinth, which also supports a small wooden deck sheltered beneath a balcony and the house's eaves.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

A sliding door with vertical slits allows light and breezes to enter the interior and leads to a long corridor lined on one side with built-in storage.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

The corridor continues from the entrance past the living area to a covered porch and parking space at the back of the property.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

As the rear of the property faces a road, the architects built a storage space with a wall of slatted timber that references traditional Japanese screens and restricts views from the street.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

"We created a multipurpose entrance to the north and the south garden that functions as a corridor and a storage space but also becomes a public space to connect inside with outside and to greet visitors," the architects explained.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

On the other side of the corridor is the open-plan living, kitchen and dining area, which can be screened off from the hallway by sliding across a door fitted with translucent panels.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

The solid wooden beams form a geometric grid above this space, supporting bedrooms on the first floor.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

Light enters this floor through windows and glazed balcony doors. It permeates the central void and the slatted balustrades and floors surrounding it.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

Floors and ceilings throughout the house are made from wood that complements the structural beams and columns and provides a warm contrast to the grey tiles of the entrance corridor and the white walls.

Cocoon House by Studio Aula

Photography is by Ippei Shinzawa.

Ground floor plan of Cocoon House by Studio Aula
Ground floor plan - click for larger image
First floor plan of Cocoon House by Studio Aula
First floor plan - click for larger image
Elevation one of Cocoon House by Studio Aula
Front and side elevations - click for larger image
Elevation two of Cocoon House by Studio Aula
Rear and side elevations - click for larger image