A Climbing Wall Allows This Japanese Family to Bond While Bouldering
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A Climbing Wall Allows This Japanese Family to Bond While Bouldering

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By Anna Squier
Horibe Associates carves out space for an expert-level climbing wall at the heart of this home in Tsukawaki.

Designed for a professional boulderer who spends his days off in search of mountains to climb, House in Tsukawaki is a distillation of the client’s passion for the sport. By incorporating a climbing wall in the home, Horibe Associates allows the client to pursue his love without sacrificing quality time with his wife and two children.

The homeowner trains on the climbing wall, which features a 15-degree slope on one face, expert-level climbing holds, and a crash pad.

The two-story, gabled home is compact and efficient at just 1,206 square feet. Simple in form, yet contemporary in its expression, the home is a modern interpretation of the regional vernacular.

The home sits on a triangular lot in a dense area high above Tsukawaki in Takatsuki, Japan. The gable roof resonates with the character of the surrounding residences.

The home embraces its dense residential setting with an entry that looks onto the public street.  Contemporary dormers extend from the steel-clad roof, revealing an extension of the living spaces above. 

The residence is clad in Galvalume-coated steel, an affordable and protective material that creates a textured facade. Bright white, stucco ends contrast with the dark form, drawing focus to the home’s entry. 

A horizontal datum line is carried from the elevation through the home. The window sash height, ceiling, and floor height are all aligned in accordance with the outer wall steel plate layout. 

Large windows at the rear of the home allow the family to look out while maintaining their privacy.

The main floor holds open living spaces—including the dramatic climbing wall that ascends from the dining room to the second story. Since the bouldering room is adjacent to communal areas, the entire family can spend time together in the same space.

Located just off the kitchen, dining, and living areas, the climbing wall is at the heart of the home.

The kitchen is sleek and minimal with wood cabinets and a simple kitchen island. The use of wood continues through the flooring and climbing wall.

Seamlessly integrated into the cabinet wall, a door leads to a wash room, bathroom, and walk-in closet.

A large walk-in closet lies adjacent to the washroom and bath on the main floor.

Three bedrooms and a loft-like corridor are located on the upper level. Plywood-clad ceilings create an atmosphere reminiscent of a mountain hut—one the homeowner might stay in while on a climbing excursion. Openings to the main floor allow glimpses of the climbing wall.

The second story circulation includes an open, flexible hallway which can be used as a work area or additional training space.

Sliding glass doors lead to a small balcony from the second-floor bedroom. Adjacent is a hall and work area which overlooks the entryway below.

Throughout the interior, a muted color palette is warmed by wood that wraps the floor, casework, stairs, and ceilings. Walls are constructed of plaster and lauan plywood. Boldly colored climbing holds add punctuating pops of color that cascade from second to the ground floor.

House in Tsukawaki first floor plan

House in Tsukawaki second floor plan

With bouldering at the center of the home, climbing has truly become a family affair: since moving in, the homeowners’ four-year-old son has also started braving the ascent.

Related Reading: 

A Fun, Cost-Conscious Home With Bright Interiors and a Climbing Wall

This Tiny Trailer Home Lets Its Owners Climb Up the Wall

Colors, Climbing Walls, and IKEA Hacks Fill This Charming English Cottage

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Horibe Associates co., Ltd. / @horibeassociates

Builder / General Contractor: Soken Corporation

Structural Engineer: Shinsaku Kataoka

Lighting Design: Horibe Associates co., Ltd. 

Interior Design: Horibe Associates co., Ltd. 

Veneered Surfaces & Design: YASUTA Veneered Surfaces & Design

Styling: C-Forest Co., Ltd. 

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