Japanese architecture firm created this contemporary, industrial-chic concrete house here in Hiroshima with a straight edge and a no-nonsense facade. Located on a narrow lot next to a small stream, the home’s imposing curved walls tower over this quiet residential neighborhood, standing apart among its more traditional neighbors. Large picture windows help to break up this monolithic facade, adding visual interest to the commercial style exterior. The gentle arc of the wall creates some intimacy, slightly facing windows onto each other while maintaining open sight lines to the city. It’s indeed an interesting and inspiring choice for a family home.
On entry, you’re received in the spacious, two-storey foyer which, though inside the home, has a distinct outdoorsy feeling thanks to the concrete walls, unfinished compacted dirt floors, large windows and a tree growing in the center of it all. The open doorway invites visitors and cool breezes in. Exposed wood ceilings feature beams running crosswise and uncovered pipes snaking upward and overhead.
A slim set of concrete stairs rises up through this soaring reception area to the home’s true entrance leading into the kitchen. The upper-level loft area houses the main living areas and overlooks the lower entry area.
As you make your way upstairs, you can’t help but crane your neck and admire the rather crude beauty of the ceiling. Windows staggered along the tall walls flood this deep space with natural light.
Upstairs, the open concept kitchen is tucked behind a sliding glass door which opens to a small terrace, open to the foyer below. A large picture window frames views of the river and rock garden outside.
The concrete walls spill up and into this upper level, onto the ceiling of this open concept kitchen dining / living area. Adding to the home’s industrial style, a minimal center island reminds us of a work bench in a shop. An integrated sink sits comfortably in the countertop, with exposed plumbing and open storage shelves tucked beneath but in plain sight. Bare light bulbs dangle down at the ends of loose wires overhead. Warm, natural wood floors counterbalance the cool factor in this space.
The kitchen opens to a small dining nook. Opposite the concrete wall, a wood wall is done in exposed studs and plywood – a deliberately unfinished element to emphasize the unrefined aesthetic of the house.
In spite of its raw, unprocessed nature, the house appears curiously composed. Minimal furnishings leave the focus on the interesting architectural elements and the unfinished finishes, if that makes sense at all. While deconstructed to a certain degree, the home retains a warm and welcoming quality that makes it efficient, stylish and livable, all at once.
While the principal living areas are organized upstairs, the lower level takes on an indoor courtyard / atrium feel, complete with a dirt floor, a tap and patio furniture, all bathed in natural light.
Completely made of concrete, the towering structure commands attention on this quiet corner. It’s so unconventional and industrial that it takes the warm light emanating from its many windows to remind us that this is “home.”
Photo credit: Toshiyuki Yano