KOBUCHIZAWA – Although Japan is one of the most densely populated and highly urbanised countries in the world, a majority of its surface area is in fact made up of mountains. The most famous of these are the Japanese Alps, stretching roughly between Tokyo and Nagoya, where the outfit Kawashima Mayumi Architects Design realised a weekend house. Located in a small town of Kobuchizawa, the retreat is completely attuned to its spectacular environment.

‘Because the site is not urban, there are no external factors determining our design and we decided instead to form the house from within,’ the architects explain. The house assumes an approximate, if slightly skewed, traditional external form in which the places of windows were determined by the views of the surrounding peaks and forests of red pine.

Furthermore, a double-height hall cuts through the house, portioning off a small annexe from the internal living space. The large space is wholly glazed toward the outside on both ends. ‘In the summer, the house’s inhabitants can sway in the hammock enjoying a semi-external terrace, while in the harsh winter they can retreat to the inner living room and gather around the fireplace, the architects assert. ‘The house reflects the changing season in the village, as well as the variety of scenery.’

Photos Toshiyuki Yano

Structural Engineer Tatsumi Terado Structural Studio