silvery cedar board and soft natural light articulate this latest project by fujiwaramuro architects in japan. occupying a corner site within a residential area of himeji, the box-shaped dwelling is designed to make the most of sweeping views of the city below.
images by katsuya. taira
creating a natural aesthetic and panoramic vistas over the foothills to the southwest were the main priorities for the client. they also requested a place to play table tennis, which required a comparatively large space. the challenge for fujiwaramuro architects was to mediate between these requests while creating a varied and fulfilling living space. the house is arranged over two storys, with the private functions located on the first floor and the social spaces positioned on the upper level.
upon entering, a concrete-floored doma greets residents. this space is not clearly defined but it serves as a central core and point of reference as all the other rooms on the first floor lead off from it. the first floor also includes other ‘marginal’ areas, such as the small internal courtyard that blurs spatial boundaries with its step down in level. the entire house is designed with various level changes throughout, which helps realize the varied living space desired in the brief.
an open plan kitchen, dining, and living space dominates the second floor level. here, residents can enjoy a picture frame view of the city thanks to a large opening in the southwestern wall of the house. set lower than the second floor level, this window also works to bring soft, natural light into the first floor below. in the dining and kitchen area at the back of the second floor, residents enjoy views framed by a smaller square window.
for the material finishes, fujiwaramuro architects applied cedar board to the exterior walls, which is complemented by cherry flooring inside the house. the final design feels clean yet welcoming, introverted yet still looking outwards. overall, the house offers many different relationships with the outside world through its varied floor levels and marginal spaces, all focused around the large wall opening.