Bay windows have been carefully designed and placed for panoramic views of the scenery

If one were to approach this residential project in Matsumoto from the side facing the road, one would not have thought it was a house. Its monolithic appearance, coupled with a dark-coloured windowless exterior, gives it a distinctive, discrete presence.

On the other side facing the landscape, however, is where one would see the light, quite literally. The windows are carefully designed and positioned such that their varied sizes, depths, heights, finishes and shapes present a diverse sequence of scenes, whether the viewer is sitting or standing. The shape of the bay windows—like barnacles—serves to heighten this framing effect and creates a striking exterior appearance while deepening the shadows inside. Because the structure follows the V-shape of the property, the broad plain occupied by Matsumoto and its neighbouring cities is visible from anywhere inside. Natural light comes exclusively from one direction, which increases contrasts in the lighting and, together with the placement of the windows, results in a strongly shadowed spatial structure. A separate building houses a music room for playing piano. Throughout both buildings, the minimalist interiors feature exposed wood framing, arranged with beams radiating from a central hub. The design evokes Matsumoto’s traditional buildings and is distinctive, thanks to the varied angles of the roof, achieving a free and bold interior.

Project Name: M4
Location: Matsumoto-city, Nagano, Japan
Completion Date: December 2017
Site Area: 469.92 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 283.84 square metres
Architecture Firm: CUBO design architect
Architects: Hitoshi Saruta; Tomonori Takauchi; Masanori Kanetani
Images: Koichi Torimura (photography)

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