This house in Nagahama, Japan, by Tokyo-based Comma Design Office has half of its body raised above the ground to offer protection to a rooftop terrace (+ slideshow).
Positioned between a residential district and a series of rice fields, House in Nagahama has an approximately square plan with a ground-level floor on one side, an elevated floor on the other side and a semi-enclosed courtyard at its centre.
Architects Atsuhiro Koda and Momo Sano of Comma Design Office lifted the south-west corner of the house to screen the roof terrace from neighbouring houses, as well as to create a sheltered driveway.
"The first floor opens to the neighborhood, while the second floor opens to the distant view," they explain.
Staircases at two corners create a continuous loop through the building. There are no corridors, so residents must pass through each room in turn, including the three bedrooms occupying the upper floor.
The facade is clad with grey fibre-cement boards that are broken up by stripes of golden aluminium. "It picks up various shades of light depending on the weather," say the architects.
Most interior walls are painted white, while floors are covered with wooden boards that turn to follow the orientation of the outer walls.
Other houses completed recently in Japan include a residence where rooms spiral up from a courtyard to the rooftop and a plain white house with only one window.
Photography is by Takumi Ota, apart from where otherwise indicated.
Here's some more information from Comma Design Office:
House in Nagahama
The house is located in Nagahama city, Shiga, Japan. Nagahama is an old town. There are more active relationships within the neighborhood community than in Tokyo. On the other hand, Nagahama is modernised with cars and shopping malls along the main roads. It is common in any local cities in Japan.
The site is bounded by the residential area on the south west; the road on the west is mainly used for the pedestrians. There is a peaceful landscape on the north east, where the rice fields and open space spread to Mt. Ibuki. However, there is a busy street on the north. The speed of the traffic is completely different from the slow pace living. There are several gaps in scale and difference in speed within the environment.
We planned a space that holds various relationships within the variety of environment. The space was created by providing a "buffer zone" instated of the space directly opens to a particular subject. The one-storey volume with the courtyard fills up the site; the first floor opens to the neighborhood, while the second floor opens to the distant view. The central unclosed courtyard simultaneously opens up to each surrounding environment. By looking at one's own house over the courtyard, it looks like a house of others.
The facade is covered with the fibre-cement board accented with gold-stained aluminum, which often conveys the anonymous/neutral impression. However, it picks up various shades of light depending on the weather.
Architects: comma design office
Architects member: Atshuhiro Koda, Momo Sano
Structural Engineer: Souta Matou
Structure: Steel frame
Contractor: Nove works (Zainobu Consturuction)
Location: Shiga, Japan
Program: Private Residence
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 132.58 sqm
Site Area: 201.03 sqm
Total Floor Area: 157.55 sqm