Embankment House / House with a garden

Location:Nagoya, Japan
Completion: Feasibility study

The Embankment House is situated on a long and narrow north-south facing plot located in a heavily industrialized area, close to a transformer substation, a recycled paper factory and a printing factory. The clients, a couple in their late thirties with two children, desired a warm and bright home with a living room that could look out onto a small garden lush with greenery and life. Conveniently, the north side of the plot faced an embankment of the Shounai river, which gave us the opportunity to make use of the limited colour in an otherwise grey and industrial area, avoid the constraints of the city and create architecture that embraced the natural landscape.


The first-floor houses bedrooms and utilities for the couple and their children, and on the second floor is a spacious, full-building length living/dining/kitchen space in which the family can gather.


Its placement on the second floor ensures the best lighting and ventilation, and large, curtain less windows open up the space and draw in the outside environment. In the center of the room, a glass-encased terrace creates an impressive sense of space, whilst allowing light and air to move throughout the room at all times of the day, despite the building facing north. The main feature of the room is a magnificent window that frames the distant embankment perfectly, forming a background for the garden at the front of the house, which in turn creates an impressive sense of depth. The scheme manages to be open to the surroundings without compromising privacy, bright and filled with lush greenery – a tricky feat for an isolated site in a claustrophobic industrial area.


We wanted the clients to witness the growth and change of nature, to benefit from architecture that highlights the change of seasons, borderless and one with the environment. The north-south orientation allowed us to make use of natural air currents, and avoid using artificial air-conditioning as much as possible. Moisture absorbent, antibacterial paint covers the walls, and floors, fittings and furniture are not made from off-the-shelf materials, but instead natural wood, proudly bearing its grain, which imbues the space with originality, warmth and serenity.


Standard roof designs are used for the majority of residential houses. However, we believed that a square gable design – very rarely used for this type of building – would give a sense of originality to the building. The curved surface delicately dances above the building like the wings of a bird, which creates a sense of lightness and space, and provides a lively but also relaxing atmosphere in the focal point of the house.



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