We are constantly dazzled by Kengo Kuma's experimental forays to the edge of architecture, so when we learned that he had designed a new home in Hokkaido called Même – Experimental House, we knew to take note. This small and luminous dwelling is modeled after the vernacular Japanese Chise homes that are traditionally built with earth and grass. But as can be expected, Kengo Kuma added a few of his own touches to make the home energetically independent of mechanical systems.
Instead of using earth and grass, Kengo Kuma framed Même – Experimental House with Japanese Larch and wrapped the 79.5 square meter space in a semi-transparent membrane that permits natural light to illuminate the house without electricity. Recycled PET insulation is sandwiched between the facade and removable fiberglass lining the interior wall.
Constructed on top of insulating earth, the home stays remarkably warm year round – even in winter – without being stuffy at all. The custom material palette ensures optimum natural ventilation without thermal loss. Daylight permeates the semi-transparent envelope so that an organic rhythm is restored to the occupants, who work when the sun is up and rest when it sets.