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A Home that Hibernates Through Winter

Jérémie Souteyrat [Profile]/Véronique Hours [Profile]/Fabien Mauduit [Profile]/Manuel Tardits [Profile]


Repository is a home built to withstand the cold of a Hokkaidō winter as well as the sometimes intense heat of its summer. Architect Igarashi Jun’s design is surprisingly bright and open, letting in seasonal sounds and fragrances through much of the year.

Repository (designed by Jun Igarashi Architects, 2012) viewed from the northeast.

The dining room in the foreground and the kitchen and spiral staircase in the background.

The kitchen.

The washroom. Curtains to the right are for the bedroom, while those to the left are for the dining and living rooms.

View from the bedroom through to the washroom and living room.

A bedroom.

View of the house from the southwest.

This home, titled Repository, is situated on the open plains near the city of Asahikawa, Hokkaidō. In the northern region’s harsh local winters the temperature can drop to a chilly –30º C, while summers can be scorching. The owners asked the architect Igarashi Jun to design a home suited to the climate, with an individuality that would set it apart from houses ordered through catalogs.

A family of four lives in the roomy building, which fits snugly into the landscape of rice paddies and other fields. Exterior walls are covered with red pine boards, painted white. Because of its closed windows, the house may seem shut off from the outside world. The predominantly white interior is bright, however, making the most of light that comes inside. The different areas are loosely connected, giving the impression of one large communal space for the whole family.

Igarashi sees the genkan entrance hall as a buffer zone between interior and exterior, and updates the traditional concept of an engawa veranda so it can be either open or closed.

The home keeps its residents protected and warm during the winter months, while allowing them to fully appreciate the other seasons. Light enters the building through the ceiling and windows can be left open from spring to autumn, letting in the fragrances of plowed earth and cut grass and the cries and croaks of insects and frogs.

© Jérémie Souteyrat

(Originally written in French by Manuel Tardits and published on February 1, 2018. Photographs by Jérémie Souteyrat. Banner photo: Repository, designed by Jun Igarashi Architects, 2012, viewed from the southwest.)

This series is based on a project called L’Archipel de la Maison (Japan, Archipelago of Houses), initiated by Jérémie Souteyrat and the French architects Véronique Hours, Fabien Mauduit, and Manuel Tardits. An exhibition was held in various locations in Europe in 2014 and in Tokyo in 2017. Exhibition catalogs are available in French from Le Lézard noir and in Japanese from Kajima Publishing.

Official site:

  • [2018.02.16]

Photographer. Born in France in 1979. Graduated from university in engineering in 2001. In 2009 moved to Tokyo, where he now works as a professional photographer. Has done work for various magazines and newspapers, including Le Monde, Elle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Der Spiegel. Published his first photo collection Tokyo no ie (Tokyo Houses) in France in 2017, and Japan in 2017.


Architect. Born in Montreal, Canada. Now lives in southern France. In 2008, she cofounded the A. P. Arts collective, promoting interdisciplinary creativity in the fields of architecture, landscapes, and art. In 2013, she traveled around Japan researching unique houses. In 2016, she published Chile: Architectural Guide with Mauduit.

Architect. Lives in Nice. Cofounder of the A. P. Arts collective. Works on various projects while studying modern architecture. Published Chile: Architectural Guide in 2016 with Hours.

French architect based in Tokyo. Professor of architecture at Meiji University and ICS College of Arts and cofounder of Mikan, an architecture office based in Yokohama. Has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions including Archilab 2006: Nest in the City and Tokyo 2050/12 Visions for the Metropolis for the International Union of Architects 2011 Tokyo Conference. Works include Ie no kioku (The House’s Memory), Posuto ofisu: Wākusupēsu kaizō keikaku (Post Office: A Workspace Conversion Plan), Danchi saisei keikaku: Mikan-gumi no rinobēshon katarogu (Save the Danchi: Mass Estates, A Project of the Future), and Tokyo Dansō (Tokyo: Portraits and Fictions).

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