Architecture firms were inspired by architects Yoshinari Kimura and Naoko Matsumoto, co-founders of Japanese studio Kimura Matsumoto, designed a property on the side of a mountain in Wakayama, Japan, for their four-member family of coworkers.
Surrounded by large rice paddies, vegetable-growing fields and a narrow waterway, the architecture of Shino House reflects these natural elements both physically and visually. The architects were able to ‘compose fitting architectural elements‘ by simplifying the site’s specific land formations and by following the strategies used by local people who built their houses, distributed their electrical wires and planted their fields according to the water flow.
The result was a space which holds the properties of a house and a landscape at once. A slightly angled 16x 6.4 steel frame supports the roof under which the living areas are separated over an open space and arranged as islands. A closed island with a bathroom and a toilet divides the common areas (kitchen and dining room) from the master bedroom, wardrobe and study room, while a large bookshelf helps to enclose the children’s bedroom at the other end of the house.
A raised, rectangular concrete floor defines the spatial division of the two triangular indoor terraces between these living spaces. On the other hand, the visual separation is achieved by large curtains, whose movement and versatility give the house an aspect of fluid aesthetic.
This lack of doors and walls from top to bottom allows the interior spaces to be viewed as one large room, as a complete and complex landscape. Similarly, the large glazed openings and clerestory windows that circle the house appear to welcome the indoor surrounding scenery.