Located in a mountainous and nature-rich region of Shizuoka, Japan, the Pergola House was designed by Takayuki Kuzushima and Associates with the simple goal of merging into the environment

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A small shack with a curved clear roofing

The client’s building site consisted of a main house that underwent minor improvements. There were also a series of ill-placed shacks that needed to be replaced. The shacks sat along the edge of the cliff, so the client and the architects removed them in favor of a redesigned functional and eye-catching pergola, work and storage area. 

Related: Old fisherman’s shack is reimagined as a dreamy eco retreat

The shack with a plastic sheet to cover it

Additionally, existing trees on the property heavily guided the shape and design of the project. With an emphasis on keeping the assortment of plum, sarsaparilla and maples in place, the roofline contoured around branches. The height was also adjusted to accommodate the trees. The architects paid special attention to the location of cross beams so they would not restrict the natural movement. In addition, the team protected the roots of the surrounding trees by relying on columns with independent foundation legs. The pergola-inspired louvered pattern of the rafters curves in response to the shape of the mountains, blending into nearby shrubs and other plants.

The windows of the Pergola House with a clear curtain in front of it

The owner uses the home as a weekend getaway, but hopes to eventually live there full time and run a farm on the land. In planning for this future, the new design leaves a maximum flat field space for growing food and housing livestock. The usable space is sectioned into five divided areas to accommodate farm equipment, a shaded seating area and a workspace. 

A shack with windows

Moreover, the composition of the roof was influenced by these intended uses of the spaces. For example, the workshop features an elevated ceiling and the entrance is contoured as an invitation into the structure. 

A kitchen area with pots and pans hanging from the wall

The project incorporated many recycled materials from the existing shacks. Flooring materials were upcycled into walls that divide the spaces. Meanwhile, beams from columns and joists were dismantled and reused as benches. Even the roof tiles were repurposed as flooring at the entrance. 

A small shack that blends into the green landscape

Furthermore, to keep costs and waste at a minimum, this approach allowed the new structure to seamlessly blend into the landscape. 

+ Takayuki Kuzushima and Associates 

Photography by Shingo Kanagawa