The house is aligned east-west so the balcony on the south side probably does all the right things regarding solar gain. If not, it’s nothing a few bamboo blinds won’t fix.
Or should we even care? In Japan they’re supposed to enjoy living with the seasons aren’t they? Just the other side of the mountain is Kyoto. Kyoto is in a valley – it’s bitterly cold in winter and steamingly hot in summer. Kyoto has serious seasons. It is also where Ando’s Azuma House is located.
Living inside a poorly ventilated and insulated concrete box in Kyoto is seriously living the Japanese dream. I just mention this in passing. In the past, some Japanese have been able to convert physical discomfort into an aesthetic appreciation of the seasons. It seems like a useful skill. We may have to learn it.
But speaking of Ando, see that five-sided empty site to the west of the googlearth image? Just south of it is Ando’s Rokko Housing project (1983).
Here’s an interior shot (of a room that, hopefully, is not a bedroom) from this site.
This is probably one of the better places to be.
Meanwhile, back in the little house …
As architecture, it’s impossible to compare the two. But as applications of architectural intelligence to create a pleasant place to live, I think I have to salute Yo Shimada of Tato Architects for his House in Rokko.
It is not trying to make a statement about Modernism.
It is not trying to make a statement about tradition.
It is not trying to make a statement about culture.
It is not trying to make a statement about beauty.
By virtue of the fact it exists, it does make a statement about its owners having the money and land to build it – but there isn’t a building on this planet that doesn’t do that.