House in Field is a wooden residential house designed by Ship Architecture, a Tokyo-based architecture firm led by Toshiya Nakamura and Ai Fujii. It is situated in a suburb of a town in Japan. This rural area has evolved as a residential region after the implementation of the railway lines. There is a field park on both the east and west sides of this plot.
The blossom of seasonal flowers such as white clover and horsetail enhances the beauty of this field. So the wooden residential house has been oriented in the north-south direction longitudinally. This design orientation does not break the connectivity of the natural beauty of the field located on both sides of the house.
This article would throw light on such a design concept and philosophical ideas behind this minimal home. It would also highlight the structural design, materiality, spatial arrangements, natural lighting and ventilation, thermal insulation and sustainability of the ‘House in Field’.
Design Concept and Philosophy
The design concept of the ‘House in Field’ was to blend with its surrounding natural landscape without obstructing visually. ‘Ship Architecture’ went for this design solution where it created a long and narrow wooden residential building that runs in the East-West direction. This maintains the connection between the green environments lying on both sides of this linear-shaped house.
One feels more secure as it intensifies the connection among this wooden dwelling, natural habitats in the East and the West. The design philosophy has been achieved as the place develops a sense of openness, brings positive energy and tranquillity to the body, mind and soul.
Traditional Japanese architecture has been inspired by nature. Most of the materials used in this style of architecture are natural materials such as wood, stone, bamboo, rice straw mats, silk and paper shoji screens. Ship architecture has used wood as the primary material in the construction of the ‘House in Field’.
Wood plays an important role in achieving the design philosophy behind this project. This can be seen as it harmonizes with its surrounding landscape. The glass windows that also act as the façade brings a sense of connectivity between the interior and exterior.
In Japanese architecture, the truss has never been a traditional structural element. There has been the implementation of cross-laminated timber for the roof to achieve this idea. This material consists of a layer of solid-sawn lumber which is oriented perpendicularly to its previous layer.
The solid composition of the material helps it to achieve a linear, strong and firm wooden roof. This material has been used by ‘Ship Architecture’ where it plays a key role as a structural element in this project. There is the use of timber beams on the ceiling of the ground floor to support the long and continuous floor. These horizontal wooden beams placed in regular intervals create a sense of traditional aesthetic.
The spaces have been arranged modestly in this linear structured wooden house. ‘Ship Architecture’ has created two floors where the ground floor comprises living space, an open kitchen and a dining space. The first floor has been divided into various levels to attain the requirement of the user. Such as the staircase leads to a study space followed by a little library and a cosy bedroom with a triangular-shaped window.
Bedrooms are creating an enigmatic experience with different volumes in space. The headroom of each of these spaces in the upper level varies with its different purpose. This is noticed in the study space where the floor of the library serves as a table.
Natural Light, Ventilation and Thermal Insulation
There has been the use of clear glass windows bringing natural light and ventilation throughout the linear wooden house. These glass windows have been located at different levels depending on the spatial arrangements. These include the openings on the ground floor for the hall, kitchen and dining space. It varies with different floor levels at the upper level. This could be noticed on the mezzanine floor of the study space, the triangular windows at each end of the house and the rooftop window in the library.
The use of cross-laminated timber maintains a human comfort temperature throughout the year. This is due to its insulating feature that keeps the house cool in summers and warm in winters.
‘Ship Architecture’ has designed this residential minimal house with wood to blend it with the natural surroundings. This also reduces carbon emissions and creates an eco-friendly environment. The smart use of the cross-laminated timber for its sloping roof and timber beams maintains a favourable temperature for humans.
The provision of natural lighting and ventilation for each space reduces the energy-cost effect of the house. The adoption of these environment-friendly features makes the ‘House in Field’ a sustainably designed house.
‘House in Field’ is an elegant design by ‘Ship Architecture’ which shows the concern for its existing environment around it. It has a simple design approach by creating a linear-shaped residential building that involves smart use of materials and a sustainable approach. The white coloured interior walls along with the accessibility for the natural light create a positive and peaceful atmosphere.
The blend of modern appliances with traditional wood material creates an interesting aesthetic fusion. The use of materials, design structure and spatial arrangements create a deep sense of connection between the exterior and the interior.