House C, a casual seaside retreat | Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP
House C sits on a narrow coastal plain between the sea and the mountains of Chiba, Japan. The owners, a couple with a young child, wanted a weekend house that would give them a very different experience from their everyday life in a Tokyo high-rise apartment. They hoped to spend their weekends gardening, enjoying nature and being in close contact with the land.
The couple asked for a "one room" house and that is essentially what architects Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP gave them. The only separate enclosed rooms are the bathroom and storage spaces. The rest of the house is an open space with two sleeping alcoves tucked on either side of the compact living area. The layout of the 90 m2 (969 ft2) floor plan will allow the sleeping alcoves to be enclosed as small bedrooms if more privacy is wanted later. Sliding glass walls let the residents take in the vistas of the sea in front and a view of the forested mountainside behind while allowing cooling breezes to blow through.
The house is built of reinforced concrete for earthquake resistance. To protect the concrete from the corrosive effects of the sea air and to integrate the structure with the landscape, it was covered with soil taken right from the site. Earthen plaster was troweled onto the walls in a layer up to 2" thick. The family members then spent many hours brushing and scraping the plaster to give it a varying texture so that it resembles layers of geological deposits. Seashells, pebbles and other materials within the soil were exposed by the process.
The concrete roof slab is topped with Styrofoam insulation and several inches of soil. The roof was planted with native grasses and wildflowers, giving the house a different appearance each season.
Have a terrific weekend!
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