hiroshi nakamura, hiroshi nakamura & NAP, japanese architecture, nasu tepee, teepee-inspired homes, timber homes, small homes, small homes in the woods

From the exterior, a guest may not be able to immediately discern whether the home is a collection of small buildings or one cohesive space. The playful curiosity raised by this uncertainty is quenched when you step inside, and the home reveals itself as a fun, nature-loving space created by sharply angled triangles and high-peaked ceilings.

The home is small, just 156 square meters, and was designed to make minimal impact on the natural surroundings. As such, the floorplan might seem a bit strange, but in the setting, everything makes sense. The homeowners are a married couple who enjoy organic gardening on the weekends, and the home was designed with this in mind.

Related: Hiroshi Nakamura and NAP Architects’ new green-roofed Tokyo plaza features a dizzying kaleidoscope entrance

With its steep, slanting walls reaching toward the treetops, one might think the interior of the Nasu Tepee would be dark and gloomy. The architects cleverly incorporated a series of triangular windows into the top of the roof’s peaks, which invite natural light to fill the space. Because of the unique triangular ceilings, light is reflected inward, much like in a solar tube.

hiroshi nakamura, hiroshi nakamura & NAP, japanese architecture, nasu tepee, teepee-inspired homes, timber homes, small homes, small homes in the woods

The architects thought carefully about how to use the strangely-shaped spaces inside the home. The sloped walls have the potential for design problems, but here, they create opportunities. “We eliminated unnecessary space,” said the studio. “As a matter of fact, people cannot stand close to the walls, so we simply turned the spaces into sleeping and sitting areas.”

The tepee home is also designed with efficient energy use in mind. Warm air collects in the peaks of the ceiling and can be vented outside through the small triangular windows in the summertime or recirculated to ground level in the winter. The home’s central space, which is used as a living room, also features a fireplace which provides heat for the underfloor heating system.

+ Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

Images via Koji Fujii, Nacasa & Partners Inc