Gallery: Organic Japanese Shell Residence Wraps Around a Centenarian Fi...

Because of the house´s unique curvaceous interiors, the furniture is custom-made from strong, hard oak.

The Shell Residence is immersed in Nagano prefecture´s peaceful conifer forests, where it creates a stark contrast with its durable white facade. The house is located in Karuizawa, a popular weekend retreat for Tokyoites that is just 10 minutes away from the capital by Shinkansen. The residence was built around a centenarian Fir tree and is made from long-lasting, low-maintenance concrete, which shelters the home from the forest’s humidity and cold weather.

The Shell Residence is definitely a departure from traditional Japanese houses – it’s a striking, curvaceous shelter that seems to have landed from outer space. The outdoor wooden deck is made from locally sourced wood and it acts as an extension of the interior floors. The Shell Residence´s interiors are light, airy, and winding. Because of the house´s unique curvaceous interiors, the furniture is custom-made from strong, hard oak.

The floors are made from local cherry trees, and they exhibit a gorgeous red tint that contrasts with the oak furniture. The interior layout is very minimal and consists of two differentiated levels: the lower ground is used for public space, while the top floor is reserved for private use. An automated centralized system controls the house´s humidity, heating, and ventilation, optimizing energy use.

+ ARTechnic Japan

Via Diario Design


or your inhabitat account below


  1. polaris kyo March 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    This structure is amazing! I really like how it flows organically within the forest… Kudos! +_+

  2. ColdTruth January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Post-modernists with a chip on their shoulder are popping up more and more on architecture forums these days. I agree with you about the root system of the tree. About everything else you are wrong. MOST logging these days is completely sustainable with the companies mandated to plant at least as much as they harvest, not to mention the amount of reclaimed and recycled wood on the market ready to be used in green building applications. Finally, the size of the dwelling is hardly a consideration. The only consideration is how organic the dwelling is, and by organic I am referring to how well the structure fits in with the existing landscape vs. how much it disturbs the environment around it. An enormous dwelling sitting on a massive steel tripod that has skylights underneath it to shine sunlight on the ground below would cause very little environmental impact. Some of us grew up in tiny houses and have never had our own space, and we NEED a large sanctuary. But I grant there are plenty of ways to create such a space with an ecologically-minded and organic program.

  3. StevenL January 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Certainly as eye candy wiggling through the cross walk of aesthetic design this house would cause a traffic jam. As a model for design that will save the world…well perhaps a pile up is the most apt description.
    The first mistake is covering the root system of the hundred-year old Fir tree. Fir root systems spread horizontally near the surface more so than most evergreens. The limited water that it will receive will be runoff from a deck coated on average every two to three years with a very toxic stain/sealant used for protection from the weather. Most sealant manufactures recommend once a year.
    Next is the egregious use of wood inside the house. The trees that could have been saved by using concrete external walls where certainly eaten up by the naked wooden floor, decks, furniture, built-ins etc. Not an iota of consideration that stripping trees out of the ecosystem for extravagant personal use is a violation of ecological sensibility if not morality.
    Last is the size of the dwelling itself. In the age where we are burning the planet down through grossly excessive consumption per capita, a single family dwelling this size is an offence. It’s a bit difficult to calculate the floor space as we don’t have pictures of the second floor but as an ex builder I would guess about 3000 to 35oo square feet. Japans average household population is 2.55 in 2010. We don’t see evidence of children.
    In the dialogue of sensible building design it is not enough to laud green building products or eco sensitive building sites. The main subject of discourse MUST be the over all reduction of building products as a whole, whether they are green or not.

  4. CherylN November 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    The house is fascinating, and so is this website – my first visit.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home