House in Akiya

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- Views from Three Layers -
This is a two-story weekend house with a rooftop deck in Akiya, located a few hours drive south of Tokyo. Akiya, together with the neighboring area, Hayama, is known for its concentration of summer/weekend houses. Being on the coastal slope where the ocean and mountains meet, the house faces the ocean while its backside greets the mountains. The natural surroundings promise a refreshing weekend stay.

The house is structured in order for the owner, a photographer based in Tokyo, and his family to fully enjoy the environment during the weekends. The house includes several points that can help refresh their minds after their busy work week. At the entrance, they have the options to go directly to the living room or to take the stairs to the rooftop deck. On the open rooftop deck, they get a full view of the mountains, the ocean and the sky. Going straight to the living room, they face a framed view of the ocean through the large windows. When the house is vacant, the windows are protected with additional sliding shutters since the area is often visited by typhoons during the summer. Besides safety, opening the shutters can be such a refreshing act, giving the family an immediate sense of exhilaration.

Each floor and rooftop of this two-story house gives a distinct view: the first floor, consisting of the bedroom and bathroom, opens to the sloping olive yard; the entire second floor, where the entrance lies, is dedicated to the living room with large windows framing the vast, blue ocean; on the rooftop they can get the panoramic view of the mountainous coast. The architecture itself works as a three-layered, personal observatory.

Some parts of the house incorporate playful structures where photogenic interplays of light and shadow are performed. For example, a slim, rectangular ceiling window in the living room casts an ever-changing stroke of light on the flat concrete wall. Although the property has a good 360-degree view, there are deliberately a limited number of windows and openings. Rather than generously opening itself to its surroundings, the house presents a few distinctive and stimulating experiences for seeing and sensing nature.

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