Gray Rabbit

Our office affectionately calls this concrete building "Gray We affectionately call this concrete building "Gray Rabbit. The house, built on a site shaped like a "rabbit's ear," is located in a mountainous area surrounded by peaceful nature, about 5 km north of the city of Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture. The site extends to the north and east in a V-shape, with the adjacent paddy field site extending from the center of the V to the front. We were surprised by the shape of the site when we visited it, but we thought it would be possible to take advantage of these conditions and create a house that is open to nature.

The main pillar of the design is "to open gently to the east and close thoroughly to the west. The west side of the house is bordered by a road and neighboring houses, so closing the house to the west is effective. Of course, the purpose of the house is to secure privacy, to prevent car noise, and to avoid the western sun, but we also wanted to create a thorough contrast in the expression of the house as seen from the road and the former rice paddy field site. The site itself has a unique shape in the entire landscape, including the surrounding fields, small mountains, and scattered buildings against the curving public road. Therefore, it was decided that the house could blend in well with the surrounding landscape, while having a clear individuality in its appearance.

The interior of the house was also designed to be straightforward with respect to sunrise and sunset. A large atrium space was created on the former rice paddy site adjacent to the east side of the house, allowing the first light of the morning to enter every corner of the first and second floors. The windows are incorporated into a large, boldly applied, ceiling-high glass wall, visually opening up the entire east side of the building. The view through the glass is unobstructed and very clear. The landscape is simple, but the simple grassland that follows the greenery of the mountains is truly spacious and powerful. The first floor, including the entrance, is a multi-purpose space, a "first living room," if you will. On the step floor at the entrance, a wood-burning stove and a large kotatsu-style table are installed. By placing the table at the center of the room, visitors can enjoy the sense of scale of the view through the ceiling-high atrium and the large windows. The view from this location is rich and expansive. While indoors, one can sense the four seasons through the ever-changing colors, and can also grasp the flow of time throughout the day. The color of the sky and the state of rainfall at any given time can also be experienced, adding to the variety of the room's atmosphere.

Although the living space is concentrated on the second floor, a "second living room" - in other words, a dining room and kitchen - is located in a position that takes full advantage of the large windows and atrium, and the master bedroom, children's room, and sanitary room are built around this location to provide an efficient flow line for housework. Although the house is very open, it is also designed to allow the residents to fully enjoy the relaxation in the small space of the private rooms. The building is blessed with abundant lighting, so it was essential to control the indoor temperature and ventilation. To prevent the heat from the western sun in summer, a 28 cm thick concrete wall and a stairwell as a buffer zone were placed along the western site boundary. This minimized the effects of the heat. In addition, ventilators were installed in the floor to circulate air and control room temperature. Cool, fresh air is brought into the rooms in the morning and evening, and hot air is discharged from the roof surface through natural ventilation. In winter, the wood stove and daylight are the main heat sources.

The family of three at the time of design has now grown to four, and their energetic elementary school-age sons are growing up, running freely indoors and outdoors. The land is rich in nature and has a warm, traditional connection with the local community. The former rice paddy field in front of the house is also an ideal playground for the children. Although there are no fancy recreational facilities in the neighborhood, the couple told us that the "wisdom of play" provided by nature stimulates the children's imagination. The house provides a clear sense of sunrise and sunset, and the body clock is extremely healthy. The family spends their time in different places, always feeling each other's presence. This family has a great deal to teach us about the meaning of a rich life. Furthermore, "I love my home very much. I will always cherish and nurture this house. This is a very moving experience for us. At the same time, these words remind us of the origin of our sincere desire and guideline for design. A house matures together with the family that lives there, and its existence evolves through attachment. As architects, we will continue to strive for further evolution in our work.


  • Completion 2005.07
  • Building site Mihara City, Hiroshima
  • Principal use private residence
  • Structure RC, 2 floors
  • Photo Kaori Ichikawa


  • 2006 JIA現代日本の建築家優秀建築選2
  • 2006 電化住宅建築作品コンテスト2006 審査員特別賞