Set against the stunning backdrop of Mount Yotei, Florian Busch Architects' L House is a cozy holiday retreat nestled on the steep mountainside of Niseko, Hokkaido. To avoid the prohibitively high costs of retaining walls, the architects split and stacked the house into two staggered rectangular blocks to minimize changes to the existing topography and to maximize panoramic views of Mount Yotei. The minimalist materials palette of exposed concrete and wood paneling reinforce the structure's sense of harmony with the natural environment.
Nestled within the trees, the minimalist holiday home was built over an escarpment created in prehistoric times. Instead of excavating the mountainside, the architects chose to split the house in two and horizontally shift the upper half to meet the upslope edge. Clad in light-colored wood siding, the structure is reinforced by a concrete shear wall.
The lower level, which contains the private bedrooms and bathrooms, is sited at an elevation high enough to still take advantage of the sweeping valley views beneath the escarpment. A set of cantilevered timber stairs connects the first floor with the upper volume’s living room and kitchen spaces. The upper level also opens up to an exterior deck and open-air heated pool located atop the entry level’s roof. Large panoramic windows frame breathtaking views of snow-covered Mount Yotei with smaller windows strategically placed throughout the house to let in natural light.