House on the Stairway

2005 -


This is truly an unbelievable building site. Six meters wide, 50 meters deep, a 25-meter height differential, and a terrain that resembles a mogul ski slope in terms of rugged surface as well as steepness. It was originally a stairway used as a shortcut connected roads above it and below it. If a single box-like structure was placed on this incline, it would tumble down the slope, but with multiple connected boxes on protrusions in the raw hillside, it stays put. The foundation is extremely simple, and the main structure is made of wood. By using 2×8 inch lumber to construct culvert-like structures, open on either end, the design sought to interiorize the exterior by capturing landscape < “land-escape”. The openings at the ends of the rectangular-tubular units running perpendicular to the hillside’s contour lines serve as picture-windows on the slope of the mountain and the vista below. The units running parallel to the contour lines capture views of the forest, while vertically upended units capture the sky and the earth below. The floor plan is actually not markedly different from that of a conventional machiya townhouse, but because the linked units are at staggered heights on the steep slope, they effectively draw in sunlight and wind, which tend to be in short supply in actual townhouses.

location Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Pref.
principal use residence
total floor area 89m2
structure wood
2 stories