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Shino by Kimura Matsumoto

By Sophie Johnson


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This modern home is a 2012 project by Kimura Matsumoto that is surrounded by farmland and rice paddies in Wakayama, Japan.

When designing the house, the architects were most interested in how it could find unity with its environment.

Shino by Kimura Matsumoto:

“The mountainside property is surrounded by vast rice paddies and fields for growing vegetables, and a narrow waterway winding around them. Between these fields are scattered houses and sheds.

On what was previously a rice paddy, we planned to build a one-story house to be lived in by our coworker’s family of four.

Firstly, we placed a 17 x 10 m roof in the middle of the property. Next, by keeping a 14 x 6.4 m one-span steel frame slightly angled, in order to support the roof, we were able to construct a large single structure.

And then, below the structure, we placed floor, nested rooms, furniture and curtains, giving a direction, respectively.

They are surrounded with the frame which consisted of thin steel materials, exterior walls made of wood and glass. Solid steel props, of exterior walls made of wood and glass ( 32 x 50 mm ) or of curtains ( 30 x 30mm ) are large in number, so the dimensions of them are small.

In contrast, square tubular steel columns ( 250 x 250 mm ) supporting the large roof are few in number, yet we can recognize the direction of this space by their large dimensions.

In regard to how the flow of water has characterized this area, people have built their sheds, houses, electrical wires, and managed tree windbreaks, and fields. From simplifying these specific natural land formations and following coordination of people’s lives in the area, we composed environmental elements. Based on the characteristics of these environmental elements, we composed fitting architectural elements.

This space has revealed itself as not only having the characteristics of a house, but having those of a landscape.

Through this project, we planned the situation of “living in an environment,” rather than, “living in a house.”

floor plan


Photos by: Yuko Tada

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About Sophie Johnson

As the senior editor for HomeDSGN, Sophie is the ultimate authority on all things home. With years of experience and a deep passion for home decor, she brings an unparalleled level of expertise to everything she does. From decorating and interior design or from cleaning to organization, her insights and guidance are invaluable to anyone looking to transform their living space. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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