When it comes to home design, architects around the world are forgoing the conventional for the experimental – all in the name of passive design. For a brilliant example, look no further than Ma of Wind, a unique concrete home from Japanese firm Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects with north and south facades made out of steel mesh. Over time, the mesh will be covered with plants to help shade the interior during the hot summer months.
Located on Japan’s Okinawa Island, the Ma of Wind home is a daring attempt to bring outdoor elements into the interior as much as possible. Using the island’s traditional vernacular for inspiration, the architects explain that the design concept was “characterized by a respect towards the natural environment, and maintaining harmony between man and nature.”
The structure is made out of a reinforced concrete shell chosen for its resilience against typhoons, a fairly common occurrence in the area. Additionally, the home uses several passive design features to cool the interior during the hot and humid summer months. The open walls on either side of the home open the space to optimal ventilation and natural lighting on the interior. Additionally, extra-large eaves were placed over the terraces to provide extra shade during the summer months.
Without a doubt, however, the home’s most striking feature is its steel mesh facade. The architects hung two mesh walls on the north and south facades of the home; these walls will serve as trellises for climbing plants over the years, providing a natural shade system for the building. During the winter when some of the plants lose their leaves, daylight will stream through the interior. “Depending on the season, vegetation engulfs the house, fusing architecture with nature,” the studio explained.
The architects based the interior layout on that of traditional Japanese homes. An open living space and kitchen make up the heart of the house, which is flanked by large terraces on either side. The bedrooms are laid out perpendicular to the main living area and have sliding glass doors that open up the rooms to the exterior.
The home creates as much of a connection with the island’s natural climate as possible, no matter how harsh. “Sun, wind, water, and the unique climatic features of Okinawa Island together modeled the design as a space exposed to the prevailing winds, looking to south and north for enhancing natural ventilation,” the architects said.