Elongated gallery and house by Shinichi Ogawa
creates a forest home for a florist


Japanese firm Shinichi Ogawa & Associates added a glazed wall to the elongated facade of this house and gallery in Japan's Mie prefecture so the florist who owns it can look out into the forest (+ slideshow).

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The S Gallery and Residence is located close to the Suzuka mountain range in a heavily forested region, so architect Shinichi Ogawa sought to make the most of the natural surroundings to complement the client's work.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

A glazed wall runs along the 18-metre-wide facade and continues around the two ends to provide uninterrupted views of the natural landscape from the gallery space located behind it.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

"The frameless glass makes this a special open space that is completely invaded by the exterior nature," said Shinichi Ogawa & Associates, whose past projects include another long narrow house in Okinawa.

"Thus, the gallery becomes a true stage for the client, while the exterior green landscape transforms into a perfect background setting."

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The glass is sandwiched between by a 22-metre-long floor slab and roof that project out at the front to form a sheltered terrace.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The reinforced concrete roof cantilevers from a steel framework, enclosing a corridor at the rear of the building, to ensure the gallery interior is free of any columns that might obstruct the view.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

An identical lime mortar finish was used for the terrace and the main flooring inside the gallery to enhance the visual link between the indoor and outdoor spaces, while a wooden section embedded in the floor demarcates a dedicated display area.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The horizontal planes of the floor plate and roof meet a wall at the rear of the building that gives it a C-shaped section when viewed from the nearby access road.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The building appears to balance on the edge of its sloping site but is, in fact, anchored by a basement level submerged in the hillside.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

Seven enormous slabs of rock excavated during the construction process form a stairway that leads from the road to an entrance in the glazed end wall.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

At the back of the building, a narrow corridor contains a cantilevered counter that runs along its full length and incorporates a washbasin for a WC concealed at one end.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The counter can be used as a workspace, while glass shelves on the opposite wall provide space for the owner's collection of art and crafts.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

At the far end of the corridor, the counter projects over a staircase that descends to the basement level and is illuminated by a glazed opening in the ceiling.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

Below ground, a minimal living area with a low wooden table at its centre receives natural light from a narrow submerged courtyard located behind the rear wall.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

The kitchen is tucked into a space next to the stairs and a bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet are accommodated at the opposite end of the subterranean space.

Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates

Photography is by the architects.

Site plan
Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
First floor plan – click for larger image
Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
Sections one and two – click for larger image
Florist Studio by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
Sections three and four – click for larger images
  • Claire

    Clean, precise and stunning. One of the nicest Japanese projects I’ve seen on here in a while. There isn’t a need for flamboyance inside the house when you make such a feature of its immediate surroundings.

    • Strom Architects

      I myself love a bit of minimalism, but that they “make a feature of the surroundings”? No, all rooms, except the studio, don’t even have a view out? Now, that is perverse.

      • Minimal KIM

        Western thinking… this is NOT Western thinking. Why must every room have a window? It is “perverse” to judge solely by your western mindset and not try to understand Japanese traditions.

  • Chris MacDonald

    Stunning. Reminds me a little of Villa Overby, by John Robert Nillson.

  • Guest

    Shame about the rows of downlights. Otherwise, they’d have outdone Pawson. Wonderful purity, and being Japanese, wonderful quality build.

  • Dave Carcamano

    The place lacks dynamics. It’s a place to pass by, not a place to stay, hence, it’s not a “home”.

  • This is just another reason why the architect who designs my dream home will be Japanese.

  • TheGildedButler.com

    It is so incredibly simple, yet leaves such an impression. I love the inclusiveness of the outdoors, yet my very first thought was “How many birds are going to fly in to this window?”

  • Paul

    Too sterile for my tastes.

    What’s with the office with no windows, with his artwork on display? Artwork should be displayed in a more prominent area, like the Lounge or Studio.

    Office is too narrow, and lacks some storage features, like cabinets.

    Finally, what’s with the white-on-white-on-white look? There is only a minimum of colour in plants and a bit of wood. Now my house is similar, and it drives me crazy, but then again, I’m a single homeowner, and I’m doing what I can to stay within a budget, and taking care of the issue as I get the money to do so.

    Painting walls, mixing in some colour by refinishing the solid oak floors, replacing the white interior doors with some nice wood interior doors and casings, etc.

    • Urbanwoodswalker

      Please learn something about Japanese traditional aesthetics. You cannot judge negatively when your values and world are so completely different. The Japanese work work is chaotic, overly stimulating, and overly colourful. Hence the purity of white, and long graceful lines, and simplicity makes this a zen retreat from the world. Windows are thought of differently in Japan then in Western world.

      You will often find a window looking out on a blank white wall. Please try to understand before putting a western spin and judgement on something so vastly different in traditions.

      if a home is not a daily home why would so much storage be needed? Perhaps, the owner also has a city apartment. Perhaps, there is storage in the floor as there is in traditional tatami mat Japanese homes. Storage is hidden, or there simply is no need for the excessive materialism of Western wealth.

  • christianius


  • Kobin

    This is absolutely beautiful, although it takes a brave parent to commit to a staircase like that :/

  • Nic Valle

    Ugh. Looks like the most uncomfortable house anywhere. Pretty but you can’t even sit down to enjoy that view.

  • rick

    Big glass facade that doesn’t open. Rooms with no windows etc. The architect seems to have made non-practical sacrifices for aesthetics. If that’s what the client wanted then he succeeded. If not, then (big) fail.

  • Tom

    I think I agree more with Minimalist Kim and Urbanwoodswalker. This is a building designed for a totally different culture than European/U.S is used to. Urbanwoodswalker made a good point that a person used to working in the urban meltdown of Tokyo for example would really appreciate being in a virtually stimulus free environment. It’s a stark building to be sure, but it has its charm.

  • Phillius Thomas

    This is a beautiful and unique home! I like that it is so open, yet when you want privacy, all you need to do is walk down stairs. So lucky for this florist to have the home!