When the family were building homes in the dark valley, they wanted better lighting conditions in their homes. The result was two greenhouses on the roof.
Due to surrounding rock formations, there are often cloudy and dark parts of the day in the northern part of the Hyogo area of the Kansai region of Japan.
Since the residents of the dark valley have few hours of daylight, they wanted to bring the most light into their home. The four-year-old contacted architect Yo Shimada from Tato Architects for help.
Inspired by greenhouses
– I wanted to create a bright and stable indoor climate and came up with a plan of three houses arranged on a 1.8 meter high-based platform, says Shimada. Two of the houses are inspired by greenhouses.
The platform, containing the living spaces in the house, is dug 76 centimeters down the hill. This gave stability to the platform that was built on a sloping plot. It also provides for a terminal heating and cooling of the house, as well as a large outdoor area with good views of the surrounding mountains.
Different rooms with different features
Each of the houses is decorated differently. One is a bathroom, the other is a guest room and the third is a sunroom. Two of the houses, inspired by greenhouses, are made of translucent plastic sheets that emit well with light. The bathroom and the sunroom are built to provide the lower floor with lighting and ventilation through large openings in the floor. In particular, the sun collects heat in the winter and releases heat in the summer.
– The three houses do not work as living rooms, explains the architect. They cover, however, the roof to the platform, where the actual living spaces are. The houses thus hide the view from the neighbors while providing a view of the patio so parents can keep an eye on the children.
The outer walls of the platform are covered with concrete to provide an insulating effect. The greenhouses are covered with polycarbonate wavy plates to absorb the sunlight. Between the plastic plates and the structure of the house there are plates that are moisture and water absorbing. The inside of the ceiling and walls consist of heat insulating and light-reflecting plates of recycled PET bottles.
– The opening down to the living rooms closes on the warmest and coldest days, concludes the architect.
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