The villa is located in a forest in Karuizawa, Nagano prefecture of Japan. The privately owned villa is designed to accommodate its owner and their friends in the rich natural environment at a mountain retreat 150km away from Tokyo.

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Name of project: Four Leaves Villa
Location: Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan
Function: Weekend house
Architect: KIAS (Kentaro Ishida Architects Studio)
Structural Engineer: Building Structure Institute, Tokyo (Kazuyuki Ohara, Shuichi Takahashi)
Construction: Sasazawa Kensetsu
Structure: Timber structure
Site area: ,127sqm
Floor area: sqm
Completion: July 2018
Photos: Norihito Yamauchi

FOUR LEAVES By KIAS - Sheet2In order to acquire specific natural scenery and light environment, each living function faces its own desired orientation. Living and dining space faces south-east for a brighter living environment while master bedroom and bathroom faces west offering private scenery of the forest. These living functions are assembled into 3 interconnected volumes that are placed on site among the pre-existing trees.

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FOUR LEAVES By KIAS - Sheet5In order to form variable cross section suitable for each function, roofs were designed as curved surface like a gently twisted leaves. Combination of a concave and a convex roof configures from a high ceiling’s expansive space to an introverted compact space. Every roof was designed as a Ruled Surface in which straight LVL joists were arranged continuously to form an organic geometry. Series of wooden joists are exposed on the ceiling highlighting its dynamic spatial characters of each living space.

FOUR LEAVES By KIAS - Sheet7The design process that responds to its environmental context produced multiple organic roofs and established architecture as an aggregate of diverse living spaces. Appearance of the villa blends in harmoniously with the natural surroundings and perfectly integrated to the local landscape.


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KIAS is an Architectural Studio based in Tokyo led by Kentaro Ishida who has worked with various international architectural practice including Shigeru Ban Architects in Tokyo and Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland.


Kentaro Ishida studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He collaborated with Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron from 2004-2012. During his collaboration with H&dM he was leading series of international projects as an Associate. He established his Tokyo based architectural studio KIAS, Kentaro Ishida Architects Studio in 2012. Alongside his architectural practice he is currently teaching architecture at Tokyo Institute of Technology as Associate Professor since 2016.

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KIAS  B-701 Twin Bldg Daikanyama, 30-8 Sarugakucho Shibuya Tokyo Studio +81 3 6455 0350  Faximile +81 3 6455 0351 /


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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022