Located in a quiet residential suburb of Okazaki, Japan, the appropriately named “White Mountain House” was developed to give its people an opinion of Mount Hongu and privacy from neighboring households.
“My clients live in a suburb with lots of detached homes; they are surrounded by neighbors in the side and in the back. I wanted to make various ‘exteriors’ inside the house without getting my clients leave their home,” says architect Takayuki Kuzushima.
in a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their 2 kids
Location: Okazaki, Japan
Size: 1,925 square feet
That’s interesting: A beauty salon can be operated on the very first level of the house.
Three of the five “voids” or openings in the inclined roof are all visible in this picture; the voids are Kuzushima’s way of inviting the outdoors inside. “I wanted to bring vegetation, natural lighting and fresh air into the construction by means of these voids,” says Kuzushima. The rest of the windows are intentionally placed throughout the house to give access to street and mountain views.
Oval and circular footpaths leading to the front door contrast with all the angles and straight edges of the house.
As seen in this picture along with the preceding one, the neighboring homes and apartment units are within close proximity and plain sight from the second-floor terrace.
Kuzushima wanted to make a diversity of exteriors through the terraces with the numerous angles and heights of this construction, appropriately hiding the views from the neighboring sites as well as decreasing the imposing feeling of the neighboring homes’ existence.
This image window looks out to the ground-level backyard terrace, located in the side of the house; the wall and inclined roof give this area of the home some privacy from the neighbors who are just a couple of feet away.
Here is another view of this backyard terrace exterior taken directly beyond the kitchen space.
This ladder is located on the second floor and contributes to the third-floor terrace. “As you move up each level of the house, you can encounter the exterior at different factors, until you eventually reach the top-floor terrace,” says Kuzushima.
The top-floor terrace includes an entirely different scale from that of the neighboring homes’ windows. The windows permit you to hear the rustling of leaves and to find a feeling of privacy without being disconnected to nature.
“There is a wondrous scale around the construction, like the house had been expanded,” says Kuzushima. But in actuality, the house’s size does not differ too much from that of the neighboring homes.