2021 | Professional

MUSE Design Awards Gold Winner

River House

Entrant Company

SAAD - sudo associates, architecture and design

Category

Architectural Design - Residential

Client's Name

Country / Region

Japan

A walk in nature is a sensory encounter of uneven earth, vistas of mountains and trees and the gurgling sounds of water bodies. The River House abstracts this multi-faceted trajectory into the domestic sphere, enriching the rhythms of daily life and heightening awareness to changes in season, colours of nature and time of day. Situated in the region of Niseko in Hokkaido, Japan, the house segues into its context rather than strictly delineate shelter and land.

The site has views of the symbolic Mt. Yotei and Shiribetsu River toward the east, forests up north. River House’s programs are arranged with this context in mind. Entering the front door, one is greeted with a view of Mt. Yotei before turning the corner to meet another natural scene at the end of a long corridor. The architectural tectonics corresponds with the internal planning: two long walls travel north-south along the plan’s length while eight shorter, perpendicular walls steer views toward Mt. Yotei. Disengaged from the long wall, the shorter walls are read as planes, encouraging fluid movement through the space.

From the entrance inward, the short walls define in sequence the master bedroom, living room, an outdoor deck and the kitchen-cum-dining area. The sunken living room breaks the topographical monotony, as well as brings the eye level closer to the external ground view when one is lounging. All open through ample glazing to a shared terrace. Along the rear wall are two bedrooms and an onsen with a private deck. The house’s large, flat, tilted roof covering the entire house extends over external walls to provide shade and shelter.

The proposal of a single-storey house used mainly for summertime activities for the client and his friends invites easy step out to nature. Chiaroscuro effects mirror nature’s spontaneity and contrasts, where a blanketed lighting experience is eschewed for comfortable and cosy shadows, dim illumination and accent lighting. For instance, it washes in at the Mt. Yotei side, while seeps in through narrow slits at others. Each experience in River House considers how to weave poetics and nature.

Credits

Project director / SAAD - sudo associates, architecture and design
Tomoyuki Sudo
Project leader / SAAD - sudo associates, architecture and design
Mimi Okuhara
H2 Group
Hiroyuki Sudo
Architectural planning studio
Koji Sato
Sagae Mechanical Engineer Ltd.
Yasuhiro Sagae
Kou Facility Engineer Ltd.
Munetada Masuko
CASSINA IXC. Ltd.
Yukiko Koba
KAWASHIMA SELKON TEXTILES CO,LTD.
Sonomi Nagai
m.a.p Inc.
Shuhei Kawamura
SUDO Construction, Inc.
Kazuyuki Sato
Photographer / IKUYASASAKI PHOTOGRAPHY
Ikuya Sasaki
Movie editor & Composer
Andy Gutierrez
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