On The Water House

The site of this building is located at Lake Chuzenji in Nikko city, Japan. The project was to pull down a 5-story recreational company facility and build a new, private summer house for an individual client. The building is built as close to the waterside of the lake as possible, while its height is kept low.

A two-story building is placed at a location with inclined topography, where its height level goes down from a road to the lakeside in 7m.  The circulation of this building is designed to be accessed from the road, to the 2nd floor level provided with a main dining space for welcoming guests, while the spiral configuration of the building gradually leads the guests to the 1st floor level with bedrooms. 

The 1st floor plan brings in the lake water to an inner garden by removing the shoreline protection work existed between the lake and the previous building.  The scenery of the lake is framed by a 20m long, large spanned floor slab, which extends over the garden area.

The porch area on the 2nd floor continues to the dining space covered with a steel frame cantilevered roof.  

Situated alongside a lake, this guesthouse was designed as a continuous spiral space flowing from the approach to the bedrooms. Each step taken deeper inside the building reveals a changing lakefront view.

The various lakeside environments, including the sound of ripples, light reflecting from the water surface, the humidity and thermal radiation, are also carried on into the spiral, but in a non-uniform distribution due to changes in physical distance from the water surface.

Since the whole structure is an interconnected space with different elevations, there is no homogeneous environment—various areas present various thermal environments such as the fireplace warmth and the dryness of the air. Guests wander around in this atmosphere, discovering and enjoying spots they find comfortable.

Located in a natural environment that requires a bit of heating in the building even during the summer nights, one may find joy in the warmth near the fireplace, while another may relish the area’s tranquility and cold characteristic. The building is closed during the harsh winter season to prevent any wasteful investment of energy. 

Photography by oji Fujii [Nacasa & Partners]

Architecture & Interior Design by Nikken Sekkei Ltd

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