Japanese architecture studio Archipatch has completed a house in the coastal city of Kagoshima that is constructed of wood and features a material palette chosen to complement its natural surroundings.
Tokyo-based Archipatch designed the Tsumugu House as a case study for local homebuilder Shichiro Construction, who wanted to use wood from the Kyushu island where the company is based.
Built to accommodate a family of four, the single-storey property aims to demonstrate how timber construction can be used to create comfortable and versatile living spaces.
“The house is designed to connect with nature,” said Archipatch, “and to realize a comfortable lifestyle in harmony with the ever-changing natural environment.”
In response to the shift in household habits in Japan following the coronavirus pandemic, the building offers a variety of flexible spaces that allow residents to work and socialize at home.
The house consists of three interconnected volumes that are distinguished externally and internally by their different roof heights.
The building is constructed with a timber frame that is left exposed internally. Wood is also widely used for the cladding of the walls and ceilings, with other natural materials chosen to complement the wood.
“The exterior and interior design is warm and inviting, using cedar, cypress and natural stone grown in the region to give a sense of the texture that only natural materials can provide,” Archipatch added.
The main entrance is located in the central block and gives access to a lower volume on the left which houses a small luggage room and three bedrooms.
A hallway leads past two single bedrooms to a suite at the far end with its own walk-in closet and study.
Directly in front of the entrance in the middle of the house is a Japanese-style room with a tatami mat floor that can be used as a living room, a simple guest room or as a space for homework.
Traditional shoji screens made of wood and paper can be closed to separate the Japanese room from the rest of the house, or opened to provide different connections to the entrance and living spaces.
The main open plan living areas are placed to the right of the entrance in the highest part of the house. At one end of the space sits a sunken sitting room, which is lined on two sides with large windows overlooking the garden.
Parts of the glazing can be opened to connect the living space with a terrace. It also allows the cool air moving over an adjacent pond to ventilate the interior.
Large overhanging eaves protect the elevations from direct sunlight, while operable windows allow warm air to escape.
Adjacent to the living room is a dining area and kitchen with a curved island. A bathroom behind the kitchen has a door in its back wall that can be opened to allow cross ventilation throughout the house.
The house has been designed to minimize energy consumption, with high levels of thermal insulation, a geothermal heating system and natural ventilation contributing to its sustainable performance.
Other houses in Japan include a mud-covered house and restaurant hidden below ground level and a compact family home with a grand staircase.
The photography is by Yousuke Harigane.