Few homes address their surroundings while leaving such a small impact on the natural environment as the Multicellular House by Japanese Architect Koji Tsutsui. The owners of the Mill Valley, California home opened their doors to the public recently as part of AIA San Francisco's annual Marin Living: Home Tours event, offering visitors an opportunity to walk through the unique space. The house consists of 10 boxes that are joined together like a small village cascading down the side of a steep hill. Click through the slideshow below to take a tour of the home.
The Multicellular House is located at the top of a winding road in the secluded hills of Mill Valley. Because of the somewhat remote location, the event organizers chartered shuttle buses to transport visitors to and from the location. The southern edge of Mill Valley borders the Golden Gate National Recreation Area — one of the Bay Area’s most popular nature preserves, and that beauty is seen in the home’s natural surroundings. To minimize the house’s impact on its surroundings, Koji Tsutsui & Associates built it on galvanized steel columns, reducing the home’s footprint and the need for excavation.
The 1,500-square-foot house is perched on a 20-degree slope that overlooks a dense forest. Each room in the Multicellular House is a separate box, and the 10 boxes are clustered together to create a “village-like” environment. The architects rotated each of the boxes to fit the topography of the site while maximizing natural light and views of the landscape.
One interesting aspect of the arrangement is that there are stairs in nearly every room — including the bathroom. That would of course be a disappointment for disabled people; in fact, the long staircase connecting the house to the parking pad at the street above might be enough to turn some people off. Inside, the decor is as minimal as could be. The floors and steps are all made of plywood, and the only art adorning the walls resembles the form of the house itself. The only splash of color to be found on the premises were the sofas and books on the bookshelves.