Completed in 2014, the Nishinoyama House, designed by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima is a residential complex located in Kyoto’s suburban area. The project is characterized by its unifying structure, which holistically connects the ten properties with 21 individually pitched roofs, creating a series of internal gardens and alleyways.
Nishinoyama House Technical Information
- Architects: Kazuyo Sejima SANAA
- Location: Kyoto, Japan
- Typology: Residencial Projects /Private Residences
- Material: Steel, Aluminium
- Topics: Dispersion, Light Structure
- Project Year: 2014
- Photographs: © Iwan Bann / © Courtesy of SANAA Architects
The residents will be able to enjoy a lifestyle that is based not only on indoor space but outdoors as well. This will hopefully create an environment that allows for the development of natural and positive relationships between residents alongside the privacy that the separate units and gardens offer.
– SANAA Architects
Nishinoyama House in Kyoto
Text by the Architects
The Nishinoyama House is a ten-unit housing complex located in a quiet residential area in Omiya Nishinoyama, Kyoto. The complex is built on a gently sloping site directly adjacent to a large vegetable garden that lends it a free and expansive atmosphere. The location also offers a distant view of the giant Daimonji bonfire on Nyoigatake to the east in the summer.
Characterizing the building’s exterior are twenty-one pitched roofs—each roughly the size of the neighboring single-family houses—that come together to form one large roof, looking not unlike a cluster of small traditional machiya houses. Each room is positioned out of alignment with these pitched roofs, creating almost as many little gardens and alleyways underneath the shared roof as there are rooms in the complex.
Housing units are scattered along with the sloped site, covered by two to three pitched roofs per unit. Some units consist of a series of interconnected rooms surrounding a garden, and others have detached rooms located across a garden. Each room also differs according to its roof’s direction and height, ranging from attic-like rooms with low ceilings and a down-to-earth atmosphere to rooms with lofts and high ceilings filled with sunlight. All rooms have multiple sources for both light and air.
The many gardens on the grounds take on a multitude of different patterns—such as gardens along the street that are open to public use, covered gardens surrounded by a single housing unit that can be described as being semi-outdoors, and bright gardens with the open sky overhead that are accessed through narrow paths, from which private covered gardens can be glimpsed—creating a variety of places and landscapes throughout the entire complex.
By placing such rooms and gardens under the same roof, the residents will be able to enjoy a lifestyle based not only on indoor space but also on the outdoors. Hopefully, this will create an environment that allows for the development of natural and positive relationships between residents alongside the privacy that the separate units and gardens offer. Ideally, this atmosphere will extend beyond the grounds of this complex and connect with its surroundings and beyond.
Nishinoyama House in Kyoto Plan
Nishinoyama House in Kyoto Gallery
In 1995, Kazuyo Sejima (born in 1956) and Ryue Nishizawa (born in 1966) founded SANAA, the Tokyo architecture studio that has designed innovative buildings in Japan and worldwide. Examples of their groundbreaking work include, among others, the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, or the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio. The latter won the Golden Lion in 2004 for the most significant work in the Ninth International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.