Maximum snow depth is 2.7m. The Uonuma region, known as the production area of Koshihikari rice, is also one of the world’s heaviest snowfall areas. Cedar exterior walls, dome-shaped garage, steep gable roof. In this heavy snowfall area, the climate has nurtured design. In this area with its characteristic indigenousness, the question becomes, “How to design indigenous elements that are actively reinterpreted rather than mimicked sentimentally” (Kenneth Frampton).
One of the requests from the client was a multi-layered and complicated house, which was an anti-indigenous request compared to the local gable roof. Reinterpreting the meaning of the frequent use of conventional gables, means combining single-pitched roofs. If there are bends or troughs in the middle of the roof, snow will accumulate there and cause damage to the house. Therefore, we thought of light and rhythmic shapes by superimposing the segmented single-pitched roofs in various directions.
The accumulated snow is rationally washed away by the water from the pipes that are stretched over the roof, and the complexly layered roof gives a lightness that is not typical of a snowy country. The exterior wall of the second floor is vertically laid with local cedar boards, and that of the first floor is general-purpose Galvalume. While partly using indigenous roofs and cedar walls, on the other hand, by adopting modern roof combinations and materials, an architecture with a sense of tension is created. The pillars and beams are exposed inside the room, and the complicated roof structure can be seen.
On the first floor, a Living, Dining Kitchen is shared by three generations, two Japanese-style rooms, a bedroom for the grandparents, a toilet, and a bathroom are planned. In addition to the main entrance, there is a sub-entrance for clients who enjoy trail running. This sub-entrance eliminates the difference in level with the dirt floor, keeping in mind the future barrier-free design.
The kitchen on the north side has a large opening so that you can always feel the rice fields and the surrounding mountains, and along the living room and Japanese-style room on the south side, a long porch is provided to serve as a space for interacting with guests. On the second floor, we planned a second kitchen and living room, children’s bedrooms, parents’ bedrooms, workspaces, toilets, and shower booths. As with the first floor, the kitchen offers a panoramic view of the north side. In the workspace, the desk and bookshelf are custom-made, and the landscape can be seen from the horizontally long picture window while working.
From the windows arranged to cut out the beautiful scenery, you can feel the seasonal changes in nature. In addition, elements that are often discarded in modern houses, such as a farmhouse barn, a Japanese-style room, a porch, and a Buddhist altar, are actively used. In the season when it is buried in heavy snow, the lightly layered roofs will become part of the landscape. This house will be an architecture that embodies intimacy and openness with the regional community.
Architects: Tsutsumi & Associates
Area : 266 m²
Year : 2022
Photographs :Kenta Hasegawa
City : Minamiuonuma
Country : Japan