300-Year-Old Japanese House Wrapped in a Modern Home


It is a question much older than even this aged Japanese home, the original portions of which date back over three centuries: how does one pay due respect to traditional forms when making contemporary additions, expansions and/or remodels that necessarily impact the existing site and structure?

This query was answered in a spectacular-but-understated way by Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates through a new wooden building that responds to, wraps and protects a wooden gate house, which has sat for hundreds of years on the property.

As much as possible was left of the walls, roof and rooms that range in age from 90 to 300 years. Beyond that, the new portions provide earthquake resistance as well as modern layouts to extend the limited and dated program and plan of the original center.

Burnt cedar makes the exterior walls blend in well with the regional vernacular, but the clearly contemporary forms make it obvious upon cursory inspection which pieces are old and which parts are new. The metaphorical as well as physical effect is one of support: what is added provides both a poetic embrace of history while actually offering structural assistance the the weathered core of the residence.

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