House in Minohshinmachi by Yasuyuki Kitamura won the prestigious AZ Award, and has been selected as the 2021 Architizer A+ Awards Finalist for Architecture + Living Small/Low Cost Design. This project, designed for a young couple, is a one-story house that blends into the surrounding landscape. The site is located in the northernmost part of Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture. The project maximizes views of the home’s backdrop of Mount Aogai.
The south side of the site faces the road. The east and west sides are flanked by residential lots. On the north side, the site faces the management road of a farm, which was established as a safeguard area for landslides. The structure was built using conventional wooden construction methods that used all pillars measuring 105mm square [4 square inches], and all of them constructed using ordinary structural metals. A simple symmetrical frame structure was used with columns spaced one pitch apart [center to center]. A single longitudinal climbing beam inside and outside, and rafters with narrowed ends were also used.
The interior space was extended by balanced window openings and large skylights. Two columns punctuate the center of the large space acting like the structure’s anchor. Inside the home, which is divided by slender wooden beams, the kitchen, bath and other spaces are enveloped by a number of nested rectilinear volumes that are either white-washed or clad in plywood. These shapes provide a wonderful contrast against the overall spatious structure. The project’s location also demanded that the house be earthquake-resistant which was achieved by its traditional wooden construction method.
"We have been searching for the future of environmental architecture, and our goal was to reconstruct the forgotten relationship between local character and the surrounding natural environment. The result is a new type of building that, in addition to its high residential performance, feels more like a part of nature than a landscape," said architect Yasuyuki Kitamura.
Location: Minoh, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Completion: April 2020
Site area: 210 m2
Total floor area: 81 m2
Client: Shuhei Kimura
Architects / Designers: Yasuyuki Kitamura
Structural Engineer: Takuma Togo
Builder: Takada Corporation
Photos by: Masashige Akeda, courtesy of Yasuyuki Kitamura
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