Woodland home by Hiroshi Nakamura designed
to resemble a cluster of timber tepees

| 7 comments

Each room of this woodland retreat in Japan is topped by a "pointy hat" that gives the timber structure the appearance of a group of pitched tents (+ slideshow).

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Designed by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura and his studio NAP, Nasu Tepee is a 156-square-metre house set in a picturesque woodland district in Tochigi Prefecture.



It was created for a couple who enjoy nature and weekend gardening, so wanted a residence that would give them the feeling of living in the wilderness.

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To preserve as much as possible of the natural setting, the rooms are nestled into the existing undulations in the terrain. A peaked roof structure unites the spaces and also hoods a series of large triangular windows that look out into the forest.

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"We avoided large-scale construction and the majority of felling, and built the rooms on the few remaining flat surface of the sloping ground, as if sewing them together," explained the studio in a statement.

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"The 'pointy-hat' building cantilevers slightly above the ground in order to prevent insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house," it added.

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Inside, the space has a floor of pale timber boards, while the high ceilings are painted bright white.

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At its highest point the ceiling measures eight metres, but narrows to a height of 2.6 metres to eliminate the cost of running heating and air-conditioning units.

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The tall ceilings allow the air to circulate, while large triangular windows maximise sunlight, as the building is partially shaded beneath the tree canopy.

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Warm air connects in the apex of the ceiling structure and is either released through small triangular windows in summer, or recirculated to ground level by vents in winter.

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Each room is linked with the next by narrow triangular openings.

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"We eliminated unnecessary space," said the studio. "As a matter of fact, people cannot stand close to the walls, so we simply turned the spaces into sleeping and sitting areas."

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A fireplace forms the focal point for the living room, and the warmth it generates is used for underfloor heating.

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More private areas of the house are separated from this conjoined floor plan by glass doors.

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Photograph by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

Delicate flowers –Akebi, viola, anemone, geranium and larkspur – collected from the surrounding area are pressed in a resin film between two thin sheets of glass that make up the doors. The flowers were treated with ultraviolet light to prevent discolouration.

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Photograph by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

"Our idea was to find a new way to reflect the blessings of nature, not just in the context of samples or picture books," added the team.

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Photography is by Koji Fujii, Nacasa & Partners Inc.

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Floor plan – click for larger image
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Section – click for larger image
  • TFO

    Still looks like something out of the Whole Earth Catalog.

  • spadestick

    Cozy, unpretentious and highly unique. Great project, have always liked this architect’s work.

  • M. Vitruvius

    Interesting as a holiday home but NOT with those chairs. Something more modern or alternative would suit this much better.

  • Willy Ritch

    Such beautiful spaces.

  • Interesting, but I thought we built buildings in woods to not have to live in tents…

  • Daniel

    You’ll be hitting your head every single day for the rest of your life.

  • studio

    Thank God they haven’t been to the mobile store yet!