Dezeen Magazine

Florian Busch embeds branch-shaped holiday home in Japanese forest

Tokyo studio Florian Busch Architects has designed a cedar-clad holiday home on stilts with rooms that branch out into the surrounding forest.

Named House In The Forest, the timber home is located within three hectares of forest land near a ski resort in Hokkaido, Japan.

The design is branch shaped
Top: House In The Forest by Florian Busch. Above: the home sits on an opening in a forest

The owners of the remote home wanted a place where they could escape to the solitude of the forest and spend time together as a family.

Instead of clearing the site, Florian Busch Architects built a 230-square-metre home that accommodates the existing trees and branches out between them, so that the residents could feel as though they were immersed in nature.

"The building branches out horizontally," the studio explained.

"Moving through the house is moving through the forest. As our views keep changing from far to near, the forest is both distant background and tactile environment."

Floor to ceiling windows stretch across the branched volumes
Windows open the branches up to the forest

The end of each of the "branches" has been left open and given a floor-to-ceiling window that orients it towards the forest and frames the outdoors.

"The closer we move to the extremes – the end of the branches – the more we are drawn into the forest," the studio said.

A concrete slab frames the entrance to the home by Florian Busch
The entrance to the home is at the top of the sloped terrain

House in the Forest was built on a concrete slab that extends from the top of the sloped site, which was raised above the forest floor on steel stilts. A rural, gravel-covered path leads up to the concrete steps of the front entrance.

A concrete balcony extends out from one of the branches and wooden steps lead from the same volume down to the forest floor.

The home sits on steel stilts atop of the sloped terrain
Steel stilts raise the design above the ground

The central spine of the house, which has three bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room and a study, is a zigzag form that extends horizontally across the plot.

It was constructed using a timber frame and then clad in local cedar.

The adjoining volumes branch off its zigzag spine in between the existing trees and extend out towards the wooded areas.

The design reflects the shape of the trees
Each branched volume has a different view of the forest

The surrounding forest was the "main protagonist" of the project, the studio said.

"The architectural response is merely a continuation of the experience in the forest; the completion of the building does not mean the project is finished but will keep evolving with the surrounding vegetation," studio founder Florian Busch told Dezeen.

Wooden shade screens cover the windows by Florian Busch
Slatted cedar shade screens allow windows to blend in with the exterior

To further blend the house into its surroundings, slatted shade screens cover the windows along its sides, adding light without compromising the uniformity of the facade.

Inside the holiday home, a combination of natural wood, polished concrete and lime-washed walls create a coherent interior design that connects the different branches.

Floor to ceiling windows look out to the forest by Florian Busch
Large windows frame the exterior

Social and shared spaces are organised around the spine of the house, while bedrooms and bathrooms can be found in the branched volumes.

"In the house’s central spine, this focus of selection is replaced by a multi-faceted instantaneity," the studio said.

"As a multitude of views of the forest around us are filling the space, the original experience inside the forest is always present."

The interior has white walls and a polished concrete floor
A polished concrete floor runs through the home

Tokyo based studio Florian Busch was founded in 2009 by Florian Busch and works across architecture and urbanism.

In 2017 the studio completed this holiday chalet at the foot of Mount Yōtei in Japan.

Another recent forest-embedded project is this house by Sanders Pace Architecture, which was built within a Tennessee national park and takes cues from Japanese architecture.

Photography is courtesy of Florian Busch Architects.

Project credits:

Florian Busch Architects: Florian Busch, Sachiko Miyazaki, Mayo Shigemura, Luca Marulli, Tenesha Caton, Max Duval
Structural Engineering: OAK (Masato Araya, Takayuki Fujimoto)
Contractor: Wakisaka Corporation

More images and plans

Plan of home
Wood clad facade blends with its context
Design nestled in the snow
Interior view of shared spaces
Smaller window with slatted shade screen
View of the home from the rural path
The house meets ground level at its entrance
It was designed around trees
Windows are concealed behind cedar slats
Each view is different
View from interior at night
The bathroom uses wood finishes