Minimalistic House Nara-zaka In Nara, Japan

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Anne Francis
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House Nara-zaka was built for a couple without children in Nara, Japan, and it was designed by Yoshiaki Yamashita Architect & Associates. It was constructed close to the Todaiji Temple, and it boasts spectacular views of the city. The abode has two floors as well as a basement area that was designed to support the husband’s hobby of oil painting.


The first floor incorporates a utility room as well as a bedroom, while the second one features a dining area, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. As far as sustainability is concerned, the house flaunts a rainwater pit that collects necessary water for the gardens, and we should also mention the passive heating and cooling technologies that add a welcomed eco-friendly vibe.


Throughout the abode, there is an atmosphere of elegance and minimalism. Rough gray and white finishes contrast nicely with black furnishings and with the beautiful natural plants that are used as décor elements.

From the architect:

The site is located near the Todaiji Temple in Nara. The location is on the hill with great view. It issituatedon the slopes.(Site area:161sqm) This is the home for couples without children.

This house is a two-story with a basement. The structure of underground is RC, and the structure of ground floor is a steel frame. The underground space is the area for the husband to enjoy the hobby of oil painting. On the first floor there is a bedroom and utility room of his wife. The second floor have kitchen,dining,living room and bathroom. The view from thesecond flooralsois a great. And more there is also a roof terrace with a view. White walls facade is the result of considering the privacy. But we have floated lightly roof so as not to be too closed.

We havealso consideredthestructure so as notto impair theview. So we provided a thin pillar on the great view side and we provided a frame to withstand the earthquakes on the opposite side with a panoramic view. Dimensions of the pillars of the iron in the corner of the living room is just 75mm × 75mm.

We have also considered environment. The crushed stone under the floor of the basement warmed by the midnight power, it warms the building frame without using electric power of the daytime.  The dry area as moisture protection of underground generates the cool air in the summer. We considered to send this cold air to the second floor by a simple fan in order to mitigate the heat of the roof directly under. And we provided a rainwater pit so that it can be used in kitchen gardens.

They were retired from work at the same time as the completion of this house. We hope that they will be enjoyed the rest of the life in this house.

Location: 314-28 Hannyajicho, Nara, Nara, Japan
Collaborators: Yoshiki Mondo
Area: 139.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Eiji Tomita

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