Pit House from UID Architects and designer Keisuke Maeda. Built on a terraced mountain hill for a married couple and their small child, the structure offers northwardly views of the surrounding landscape and features an interior design meant to serve as an extension of the natural environment outside.
The interior spaces aren’t linear by your standard house floor plan, but yet there are many different nooks and crannies carved out of the organic forms on the inside. The lower level is actually where the “pit” part comes in at– with the kitchen and other public spaces being eye-level with the ground. Various built in seating areas, an open loft bedroom on the upper floor and an entire materials palette of steel, wood and concrete make this work of art complete.
- A cedar box encases the house and is propped up on stick-like legs so that it appears to hover above the sunken ground floor.
- A large rectangular opening reveals a recessed balcony behind the facade, which branches out from an L-shaped first floor.
- Circular holes in this upper floor line up with the shapes of the rooms below, creating a curved balcony around the edge of the two bedrooms.
- A concrete cylinder stretches up from the lower floor to the roof, enclosing a circular bathroom and a storage closet, while a staircase spirals around its perimeter.
- Other projects we’ve featured by UID Architects include a timber house at the foot of a mountain and a residence comprising four cedar-clad blocks.
“The concept is inevitably drawn from the request of the clients, and the context of the site. It becomes a subterranean room with little influence of the open air, and a relationship with the external surface of the earth.” – explained architect Keisuke Maeda
The house positions itself in Okayama Prefecture near Seto Inland Sea. The site is located on a terraced mountain hill that was developed as a residential land. The family is consisted of a married couple and a child. We considered a new way of architecture on the site condition, where views are open towards the north and the ground level is one meter higher than the road level.
The relationship is as if the site’s natural environment and the architecture coexist at the same time. The architecture has become a part of the whole landscape of undivided environment, not simply thinking about connection to the surroundings from the cut off opening in walls. This time, we came up with a living form that accepts the outside environment such as surface of the terraced land, surrounding neighboring houses’ fences and walls, residences that sit along the slope and far beyond mountains.
The architectural principle is not a division from the land with a wall, but an interior that is an extension of the outside and connection of the surface like a pit dwelling that is undivided from the land. In concrete, six types of floor levels including a round floor that is created by digging the surface are connected with a concrete cylinder core at the center. Furthermore, delicate and multiple branch-like columns that support the slightly floating boxes produce various one-room spaces.
Environment and architecture create new extensive relationship by connecting surfaces. The territory is undefined in the space in a body sense. I think that is more natural relationship of an architecture standing in a landscape.
Project name: Pit House
Location: Tamano, Okayama, Japan
- Type By Characteristic: Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House, Japanese House
- Type By Site: City / Town House, Hill House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Wooden House
Structural: steel structure
- Exterior: ceder plate, wood protection paint,
- Interior: structual plywood, exposed concrete, wood protection paint, cherry flooring
Site Area: 95.41 sqm
Total floor area: 138.23 sqm
Completion Year: October 2011
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: UID Architects – MORI×hako 2F 3-10-20 Kinosho-cho Fukuyama-City Hiroshima 720-0082, Japan
Project Designer: Keisuke Maeda
Stuctural engineers: Konishi Structural Engineers – Yasutaka Konishi, Takeshi Kaneko
Garden-build: Toshiya Ogino
General contractor: Nakamura Construction Co.Ltd. – Hiromi Nakamura,Yasunobu Hida, Keizou Yoshioka, Kazuhiko Kiminami
Environmental: Toshiya Ogino Environment Design Office – Toshiya Ogino
Text Description: © Courtesy of UID Architects
Images: © Koji Fujii / Nacása & Partners., UID Architects