As you walk along a steep, narrow street in a quiet area of Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan, away from the train station and toward the sea, a peculiar and lovely home comes into view. It is the Home in Gokurakuji, designed by architect Naoya Kawabe.
The home was built in an area where the road appears to be cut into the hillside. There is almost no traffic and the setting is serene. The two-story home occupies two volumes connected via a small interstitial space, abstractly mimicking the connection between the town and its more natural surroundings.
The street-facing facade reveals two solid, offset, windowless boxes of different heights. A delicate glass enclosure connects the two and acts as a pass-through between the front of the home and the rear garden.
Inside the home, the private and public sections of the house are segmented as well. The home’s only bedroom and bathroom are located on the ground floor while the kitchen and living and dining spaces are on the second floor.
Other than the unusual positioning of the home’s volumes, its defining characteristic is its expansive windows. They are positioned to let in huge quantities of natural light and allow for a stunning view of the wooded mountainous surroundings.