2012 -


This is a house designed for the owner of the Houraikan Inn at Nebama beach in Kamaishi city, Iwate. Houraikan was seriously damaged by the recent tsunami, however since the waters did not rise above the second floor, the upper floors served as the evacuation centre for the neighbourhood after the disaster. A series of projects for the recovery of Nebama beach have since been started. Arena Dwelling takes its place within the rebuilding of the Nebama beach landscape.
This house also serves as a community centre, with an open-air concert theatre sited adjacent to the house. This open-air theatre project was initiated with the support of Mr Yutaka Sado, a conductor who led a requiem at Nebama beach in the summer of 2011. With an asymmetrical plan, I aimed to take in the beautiful scenery, and have the performance and scenery melt together by arranging a layout where performers, audience and conductor face each other at a slight angle, just like the pulpit and congregation of a Lutheran church. The roof of the house stretches around to the stage and acts as a sound reflector whilst the terraced seating overhangs the landscape just enough to create a small garden next to the kitchen. At times a movable tatami mat platform functions as a balcony seat or a second stage. This house which is integrated with an amphitheatre reminds me of the “House of Momo,” in the novel by Michael Ende.
This amphitheatre uses the angle of the mountainside topography to support it structurally as well as creating an easier access to a well-known evacuation path away from the sea. The theatre can be seen clearly from the beach and an emergency staircase carries on beyond the raked seating for people to escape quickly to higher ground in case of a future tsunami. In other words, this private house includes a public emergency facility.

location Kamaishi City, Iwate Pref.
The First Stage
principal use amphitheater, evacuation route from tsunami, tree house
completion date estimated in 2013
total floor area  13㎡
construction area  496㎡
structure reinforced concrete, wood
350 seats, 1 story
The Second Stage
principal use social lounge, club house etc.
completion date estimated in 2014
total floor area  90㎡
construction area  225㎡
structure reinforced concrete, steel
1 story

photos by Yoshiro Masuda