OMAEZAKI – Atsushi and Mayumi Kawamoto – the duo behind mA-Style Architects – like to define architecture allegorically. Their latest single-family house, for a couple and their three children in Omaezaki, tells a story of people living together like a colony of ants.

‘We’ve expressed a mode of living that links not only the individuals involved, but also the house with the family,’ says Atsushi, explaining that their clients did not require ‘privacy’ in the Western sense of the word. ‘Mentally and emotionally, the family forms a small group whose lifestyle resembles that of ants in a nest.’

To inject the bustling interaction of a real ant colony into the continuous space, the architects installed a plywood volume at the centre of the interior. Because of its many openings, this house-in-a-house stimulates communication among family members, rather than locking them inside a closed box.

‘Our clients’ previous home was built in a traditional style – with dividing walls – which made communication among family members difficult,’ says Mayumi, justifying the absence of fixed walls and partitions. ‘But all that is different now.’

Photos courtesy of Kai Nakamura

*Sneak peek! This project is featured in Mark #40. Click here to subscribe!*