Ultramodern Twist on Ancient Underground Home Tradition


modern traditional japanese home

At first glance, this structure seems more like an ancient monument or work of abstract public art than a livable contemporary home. Once one realizes that it is, in fact, a dwelling space, it appears to be as ultramodern as they come. However, first glances and initial appearances can be deceiving: this deceptively megalithic design is in fact rooted in ancient traditions of Japanese home building.

modern japanese home style

Nearly 2,000 years ago, pit houses in Japan were constructed by first excavating a few feet of soil and then setting a steep-angled roof above the underground living area. The resulting carved-out abode looked – at least in terms of its abstracted geometries – much like this unusual black pyramid by Suppose Design.

traditional modern japanese style

Set in modern materials like metal and glass and constructed in a sleepy small Japanese town, these same design guidelines result in something extraordinary – at once apart from its surroundings but also a subtle visual reference to the mountains in the distance.

traditional modern home

In this contemporary interpretation, the dug-out dirt was piled around the edges of the plot as a privacy-protection barrier to reinforce the seclusion of sinking common spaces into the earthen center. Seamless windows wrap around on all sides and provide views out on all sides at the (under)ground level while upper stories are obscured by the obelisk-like black pyramid form.

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