‘symbiotic house’ by r.e.a.d. & architects is a minimal residential villa in the area of minami-karuizawa, in nagano, japan, designed for a couple’s new life after retirement. located on a long site area, the project comprises two buildings, one for the owners and one for guests, topped with two sloping concrete roofs that harmonize with the surrounding mountains. the two buildings are connected via corridor, while all living spaces are surrounded by a rich landscape of seasonal gardens, which are visible from the large windows of the rooms. all images by masaya yoshimura, copist
drawing by r.e.a.d. & architects
‘what is a life after retirement in “the 100-year life”?,’ asks r.e.a.d. & architects. ‘taking inspiration from the ancient japanese way of life of “symbiosis,” we thought of a house that snuggles up to the couple’s life.’ located on a corner site surrounded by fir trees with a view of mount asama, the project makes use of the surrounding environment unique to karuizawa. its two buildings are arranged along the elongated site shape: the ‘main building’, where the couple lives; and the ‘guest wing’, where guests are invited to stay when they visit. a corridor clad in floor-to-ceiling glass connects the two buildings while offering views of the seasonal gardens that surround the property.
the two buildings are topped with sloping concrete roofs that harmonize with the surrounding mountains, while the same form and material can also be found on the ceiling inside the house. the interior is characterized by spacious rooms with high ceilings, which allow the couple to maintain ‘a proper sense of distance,’ as r.e.a.d. & architects explains. natural materials that will blend into the surrounding landscape over the years have been used throughout the project, while all hardware is handmade by craftsmen. ‘it is a setting that allows them to feel that you are living with nature and the passage of time in their daily life,’ concludes the japanese architecture studio.