Hilltop House is a modern courtyard house located in Otsu, Japan, designed in 2022 by FORM / Kouichi Kimura Architects.
The house has been built on top of a hill that was generated during land development at the foot of mountain. The housing site occupies about 830 m2, and is situated in a location with nice panoramic views of nearby mountains. The approach that looks like a forest path branches off from a road at the foot of the hill, and leads to the house entrance.
The client requested to create extraordinariness in everyday living while making the best use of the location. We then planned a courtyard house that faces open towards the mountains as a borrowed scenery. The building is composed of a horizontally-emphasized voluminous shape and a wall surrounding the courtyard. The height of the wall has been determined so as to view great mountain ridges from the rooms. It has been designed to be integrated in the building, which has created beautiful skyline, making itself as part of the new scenery and raising further the scenic value that resides in the location.
The graveled courtyard that has no planting has been designed to be as a blank space. With the background landscape as the borrowed scenery, it makes you feel extended tranquil space. To produce extraordinariness, a space under the eaves has been designed to provide a water basin facing the courtyard and a room. Visually connecting inside with outside, it appears differently every second and thus is used as a gallery. The landscape reflected in the water and/or light and shade, together with the objects placed there, creates delicate scenes. The independent partition wall that catches eyes from inside the room disperses light from the skylight, making the space more impressive. The bench, wall and ceiling are continued beyond the glass partition that separates inside from outside. They create depth in the scene and produce flows between inside and outside.
The building takes in landscapes and external environment. Each individual room utilizes clear sightlines and natural light, creating a continuous space while loosely segmented. The house that appears tranquil but fluid will continue to produce fresh and extraordinary space experiences in daily life.
Photography by FORM / Kouichi Kimura Architects
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