Innovative roof design takes inspiration from nature to provide privacy
This villa is situated in Karuizawa, one of the most popular summer resorts for those living in Tokyo. The triangular site is sloping down towards the south, from which beautiful views of nature can be appreciated. It has plenty of trees, however, a neighbouring house is close to the east side, which is the least favourable element. According to the local building regulations, a minimum 1/5 gradient is required for any roof, and the building should be less than two-storey.
The design agenda was as follows: in the rich natural surroundings, to the public's eyes, the building should be the least outstanding existence on the sloping terrain. On the other side, to enjoy the distant views from the living room, dining room and kitchen, the space should be raised higher from the ground. At the same time, the neighbouring house should be avoided from the range of vision.
After thinking about how to integrate these contradictions into the design, the architect finally reached the conclusion that the roof was the key to the solution. In order to reduce the visual mass of the building, the upper floor level - living, dining, and kitchen - beneath the roof should be entirely enclosed by transparent glass walls. The roof should be like a thin leaf, gradually curved down onto the ground. In this manner, the roof also functions to block out the view of the neighbouring building on the east. The roof cannot be seen from the public road on the north.
The lower floor level, made of a reinforced concrete structure, is half buried into the ground and half opened to the south side terrain; where the bedrooms, guest room, library and a bathroom are located. The spindle plan shape is the most suitable for the existing contour lines geographically, as well as for the posture of the load-bearing wall against the horizontal load from the earth.