Boundary House

Yasuhiro Yamashita x Atelier TEKUTO

The site is situated in an area where urban development is restricted and stands on the borderline of the residential area and farm land area. Though legally an unbuildable zone, the client had special permission for construction due to his vested rights of having lived there already.

The house stands on the duality of an urban development area that could be said as being an economy based realm and rural land, which can be said as being an ecology based realm. So our design proposes became a dramatization of the shift from the economy realm to the ecology realm with the hope that it will bring a peaceful and ecological lifestyle to the client.

The first vision was a tarp-like structure where one can fully feel nature and move freely from covered inside areas to the uncovered outside areas. In order to integrate this idea into an actual piece of architecture, our concept became on how to “blur the boundary” between architecture and nature. In order to do so, we adopted the following strategies: firstly, the plan becomes a maze-like composition where the internal and external spaces were interwoven; then, 16 sky lights, some glazed for interior use and others without glazing for exterior use, were randomly placed over the whole configuration. The potted plants, located both inside and outside, symbolise the co-existence of architecture and nature.

Materials and finishes are also treated the same in the interior and exterior. Exterior walls are finished with charred cedar wood (called Yaki Sugi), that is a traditional Japanese technique of wood treatment. The interior sides are finished with persimmon tanning containing Bengara (called ‘Kaki-Shibu’) that is also a traditional wood finish. Both finishes have a similar texture and resembling color, so that interior and exterior walls are visually continuous.

For the floor finish, polished terrazzo was used both in the interior and exterior so that here again, architecture is seamlessly connected inside and outside.


ARCASIA Awards for Architecture 2015 (GOLD Meal)
LEAF AWARD 2013  (Residential Building of the Year)
Japan Wood Design Award 2013 (Breakthrough Award)

>> List

completion dateJuly 2012
locationChiba Prefecture, Japan
building usePrivate House
site area178.23㎡
building area99.85㎡
total floor area99.85㎡
architectural designYasuhiro Yamashita /Atelier Tekuto
constructional designKenji Nawa /SUWA architects + engineers
photographSOBAJIMA, Toshihiro


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