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House I – A Japanese architectural gem

The detached house for three residents in the Japanese prefecture Tochigi, by the architect Hiroyuki Shinozaki, stands out because of its modern architectural style. From the outside the home looks inconspicuous, but once inside, it quickly becomes clear that functional design and aesthetics are seamlessly integrated throughout the entire house.  

All rooms are arranged radially around the large centre of the building. On 92 square metres, there are a total of eight rooms which are solely separated by light stone walls. 

Japan’s modern architecture

Source: Hiroyuki Shinozaki / Photographer: Fumihiko Ikemoto

The large living room can be found in the centre of the home, and around it all other rooms. In this way, all rooms can be accessed from the living room, similar to many art nouveau buildings where the rooms were typically built around a central hall. The octagonal walls that support the roof and separate the rooms without doors, are almost reminiscent of cathedral-like structures.

No need for doors

What makes the architecture of Hiroyuki Shinozaki so extraordinary is the openness – this is accomplished with the unusual arrangement of the rooms. Having no doors, however, does not make for less privacy. When you need some peace and quiet, you can retreat into one of the niches, or when you like some company, you can go into the large center of the home where you have an overview of the whole home. Moreover, a large window offers a wide view into the calm Japanese residential area.

Open rooms and a light atmosphere


In harmony with its surroundings

When designing the detached house, the architect purposefully set out to create a comfortable and homey building. A home in which you can retreat but just as well spend time together with your family. Especially, due to the 4.8 meters high ceilings the rooms become light-flooded and welcoming. 

The intricate design and functional details set the building apart, like the wooden ladders that lead to additional storage space, and the roof window that lets daylight enter the home. The walls are made of volcanic rock, originating from the region – this gives House I a unique appearance. “We built a house that is embedded in and connected to its surroundings”, explains the architect Hiroyuki Shinozaki.

What do you think of House I? We look forward to receiving your comments!

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