A family of four relocated to Nara, Japan (about 537 km away from Fukushima) after the earthquake and tsunami in March, 2011 - and their new home is now complete! The 4N House is a small industrial-chic dwelling placed on a sloped site overlooking the city. Instead of leveling the ground, which was split in two and separated by a retaining wall, Osaka's Ninkipen! removed the wall and placed the house on stilts.
By stacking the house on pilots, Ninkipen! achieved a variety of purposes: minimal site disturbance, which is great, maximizing space for the owner’s two children to play, and extending the outdoor space. The interior is reached by a staircase placed underneath the house and another staircase leads up into the attic, where a couple of bedrooms and an office space enjoy plenty of natural light and ventilation despite being a bit cramped.
The window rail on the second floor, which is dominated by a long kitchen counter that runs almost the whole length of the level, provides shelter for the ground floor entrance. Exposed timber rafters give the home some warmth, and the elevated site affords remarkable views. A wonderful feat of space optimization so typical of Japanese architecture, this lovely home has given at least one family that survived Fukushima a whole new lease on life.
Photos by Hiroki Kawata