This cluster of teepee-shaped huts huddled in the forest may look like a whimsical play space for children, but Tokyo architect Issei Suma designed the buildings to cater to the elderly residents of a small Japanese community. Surrounded by greenery in the Shizuoka Prefecture, the five timber-clad structures, named JIKKA, offer an unexpected fairytale-like oasis in the Japanese countryside.
JIKKA was commissioned by two women in their 60s, one a social worker and the other a cook. The cluster of five interconnected huts only occupy a space of 100 square meters, however, comprise a variety of facilities including housing, bathroom with a spiral bath, spacious kitchen, and restaurant that’s open daily and serves food made from locally sourced ingredients. The clients also prepare and deliver meals to the elderly in the local community.
The teepee-shaped exteriors are clad in strips of light-colored timber and punctuated by large rounded windows and doors, but the interiors are mostly finished in cool concrete with supporting timber roof beams. Natural light is funneled into the interior through skylights and rounded openings. The kitchen and restaurant occupy the largest room at the heart of the interconnected buildings. The clients’ living quarters are located to the west, while the guest bedrooms that accommodate two are located to the east, along with a spiral-shaped pool designed for wheelchair accessibility.
Images via Issei Suma, by Takumi Ota