mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

 

Konichiwa! Today we’re south of Mount Fuji in the Shizouka Prefecture of Japan, to look at a house so good I wish I’d thought of it myself. This little slice of simplicity is by mA-Style Architects, and the photographs come from Kai Nakamura. I’m not sure who supplied the child but goodness what a lot of reading they’re getting through.

This is not a big house, but a deft hand has made it spacious. A lot of this is down to the central courtyard (my feelings about courtyard houses have previously been made plain) which pours daylight into the core of the house, where it washes those brilliant white walls and brings out the warm tones of the timber. As with all courtyards it’s the view across that animates the space either side. And it’s a beautiful thing if, when there aren’t great views to the outside world, to create great views within the house.

 

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

 

From the street, the house is as basic as can be – a child’s drawing, naïve in the best sense of the word. A simple white wall holds a big meaningful window, with a lovely deep reveal so that one can curl up in it. I think it was Gio Ponti (please correct me if I’m wrong) who wrote at length about the joy of an inhabited wall, an occupied façade (university was a while ago and I’m showing cracks). Anyway that sentiment is at work here and it’s a marvellous thing. You can just tell that on a sunny day, that’s the spot where the cat would be plumply purring.

 

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

 

Inside, while I don’t entirely love the patchwork timber walls and ceiling, I can’t go past Series 7 or Prouvé Standard chairs, so am coping. It’s fair to say that the house has been beautifully furnished, though very sparingly.

The floor plan is simple and elegant, like Holly Golightly after a lobotomy. The house is one big living room that is readily divisible for family living. Sleeping spaces are in snug little lofts – gorgeous.

 

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

mA-Style Architects: Idokoro House in Shizouka, Japan | Yellowtrace.

 

The nicely-mannered linearity of the reading room is mussed up by diagonal ladders and stairs. Plain-as-can-be light bulbs dangle from high ceilings – anything more than a bare bulb would seem garish in this environment.

I think this house is pretty special. I place it in a long list of perfect little white houses for which my burning desire to live in is tempered by the suspicion that I’d spend day after day on those pristine white floors, sweeping up pubes.

Ende.

Text by Luke Moloney for Yellowtrace.


 

See more examples of architecture and design in Japan.

 


[Images courtesy of mA-Style Architects. Photography by Kai Nakamura.]

 

4 Responses

  1. Ari

    I have exactly the same fear of white floors.

    I also think that it is kind of sexist to keep designing houses that need to be cleaned and tidied constantly, because it is usually a woman doing the cleaning and tidying (either one that lives in the house or a cleaner). I have better things to do with my time than clean white floors! Like working, spending time with my husband or my kids, reading about other people’s perfect white houses…

    I do love the family length desk though, it’s something I’d love to do in my own house one day, but with a window above looking out to some greenery.

    Reply

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