Playful Platforms Revamp This Japanese Lake House Into a Fun, Five-Story Retreat

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
On the shore of Japan's Lake Nojiri, interrelated levels are cleverly used to create a multi-story home.

Designed by Tokyo–based SUGAWARA DAISUKE Architects, the lakeside cottage known as Nojiri-ko Nature Platform reexamines the spatial relationships between nature, building, objects, and humans. 

Yet, that's not all. The home goes one step further, giving its occupants not only multiple perspectives on the use of space, but also providing various views of the breathtaking surrounding scenery.

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Rather than create a typical two-story home, the architects have designed a multi-layered space with a series of platforms. 

Rather than create a typical two-story home, the architects have designed a multi-layered space with a series of platforms. 

A contemporary take on the traditional Japanese concept of fluid multi-purpose spaces, the interrelated platforms that compose this multi-layered home perform different functions. 

For instance, steps become additional seating. Floorspace doubles as kitchen countertops and tables. These nifty, multi-purpose levels cleverly overturn a common layout. Scroll through for a closer look inside. 

The first-floor cantilevers out and is perched like a platform, serving as a great viewpoint for observing the surrounding forest scenery. 

The first-floor cantilevers out and is perched like a platform, serving as a great viewpoint for observing the surrounding forest scenery. 

Partially enclosed, the exterior platform features an outdoor swing that is suspended from the timber-framed porch.

Partially enclosed, the exterior platform features an outdoor swing that is suspended from the timber-framed porch.

 The indoor portion is set behind sliding glass doors and can be used for storing firewood.

 The indoor portion is set behind sliding glass doors and can be used for storing firewood.

Inside, the open-plan layout features a kitchen which morphs into the living area with a raised built-in bench/reading nook, along with an upper level that overlooks the space. 

Inside, the open-plan layout features a kitchen which morphs into the living area with a raised built-in bench/reading nook, along with an upper level that overlooks the space. 

The kitchen is layered with the living room—the counter space becomes the flooring in the living area, and steps are used as additional seating. 

The kitchen is layered with the living room—the counter space becomes the flooring in the living area, and steps are used as additional seating. 

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A view of the kitchen from the living room. The reading nook/bench is another layer of space. 

A view of the kitchen from the living room. The reading nook/bench is another layer of space. 

Full-height windows wrap around the home, giving jaw-dropping panoramic views of the lake. 

Full-height windows wrap around the home, giving jaw-dropping panoramic views of the lake. 

At the other end of the home on the same level, a stove creates a cozy corner, while steps add another layer to the space. 

At the other end of the home on the same level, a stove creates a cozy corner, while steps add another layer to the space. 

The upper level conceals the bedroom. 

The upper level conceals the bedroom. 

Stairs to the upper level. 

Stairs to the upper level. 

The open attic creates an airy sense of space for the lower levels, and offers more room for storage. 

The open attic creates an airy sense of space for the lower levels, and offers more room for storage. 

The glazing faces the lake, providing privacy from the road.

The glazing faces the lake, providing privacy from the road.

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record:  SUGAWARA DAISUKE Architects

Builder/General Contractor: Mizuken Inc. 

Structural Engineer: Techtonica Inc.

Lighting Design: Toh Design

Interior Design: SUGAWARA DAISUKE Architects