transparent hut-like roof tops opaque box
japan-based architecture firm micelle ltd. has completed a dwelling for a couple and their three children in gumna, japan. located among the dwellings and the farmland, the final structure sought to employ a design language that responds to the strong contrast of the site.
to that end, ‘ARI residence’ presents itself as a variable off-white opaque box topped by a transparent hut-like roof. the main concept behind the design sees the flexibility of changing the interior ambiance according to the owner’s will, incorporating into the external environment at the same time.all images by shimizu ken
interaction between the space and the members that live within
as the area is characterized by a completely different climate in summer and winter, the final construction is covered by a hipped roof —made of transparent FRP— to shield it from the elements: using its slope for rain protection and the deep eave for the harsh sun rays in summer.
the design team at micelle sought to create an interaction between space and the members that live in it. the building is constructed by a timber framework with a highly developed japanese pre-cut system for small houses. rather than installing special and expensive equipment, the functions of the body were reinterpreted, forming a greenhouse-like attic space that controls the indoor ambiance.
generating different atmospheres
sliding wooden surfaces —serving as ceilings for each grid of beams— can fold and unfold mechanically, to reveal or hide the empty roof area selectively. this way, the residents can regulate the light that penetrates the interior, hence the temperature, generating different atmospheres according to the circumstances. giving the dwellers the opportunity to modify it according to their senses and the weather conditions, the interior becomes variable, adopting different characters.
the opaque walls that frame the structure can be converted into flip-up doors, which act as eaves during periods of heavy rain and strong sunlight. as the architects described, the lack of window elements means that there is no need to create large and weak openings and therefore a truly unrestricted plane is obtained.
furthermore, they mentioned that from far away, the shape of the hut is reminiscent of a japanese traditional house, but once visitors get closer, the transparency of the roof unveils the wooden shed, with the entire structure standing on a cold-hearted metal box. the combination of different characters — on the one hand, the image of a ‘pretty house’ and on the other a ‘rude box with umbrella-like roof’ — gives the building an appearance that is neither abstract nor precise.
name: ARI residence
architects: micelle ltd
leading architect: katada tomoki
location: gunma, japan
photography: shimizu ken
christina petridou I designboom
dec 13, 2021