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The Dining Room in the Sky

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


The simple design of this house resembles one wooden box laid on top of another at right angles. This distinctive shape allows for a direct connection to nature.

+Node (designed by Maeda Keisuke/UID, 2012), west side.

The home’s living room.

The bedroom on the house’s lower level.

The dining room on the southern end of the top floor.

Looking up at the dining room, which extends out into midair.

The view from the dining room.

This home to a family of three lies on the bamboo-covered slope of a hill in the outskirts of Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture. The owners had previously lived for a long time in an apartment with many rooms, and wished to switch to a simple house consisting of one room, undivided by walls. They wanted the atmosphere of a vacation home, where they could thoroughly appreciate the natural surroundings.

They found suitable land together with the architects, who suggested a design of two simple cuboid shapes with one set at right angles on top of the other. The upper floor is communal space arranged as a single room—as the clients requested—while the lower floor is divided into bedrooms.

The external walls are entirely covered with sugi cedar planks, as in a traditional Japanese home. The architect has also created a kind of midair engawa veranda, using the slope at one end of the upper floor, from which the family can enjoy views of the bamboo forest below.

Numerous openings let in the sounds of birds, insects, and the wind. While thoroughly insulated, the house at the same time feels firmly and directly connected to nature.

© Jérémie Souteyrat

(Originally written in French by Manuel Tardits and published on March 5, 2018. Photographs by Jérémie Souteyrat. Banner photo: The dining room in +Node, a home designed in 2012 by Maeda Keisuke/UID.)

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.

  • [2018.03.30]

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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  • Squeezing In Beside a ShrineA distinctively shaped house on a thin piece of land beside a shrine catches the eye in a Kyoto suburb.
  • The Sea at KamakuraWhen his father passed away, the architect of this Kamakura house wanted to preserve the view of the sea his parents’ residence had enjoyed, while allowing passers-by to enjoy it too.
  • A Terrace House for a Tokyo FamilyConsideration for the surrounding environment is an important aspect of architectural design. In this Tokyo home, the architects wanted to make the most of the greenery of a nearby park, while maintaining privacy for the household.
  • A Room with a View of Rice FieldsAlthough a reasonable commute takes the father in this family to his big-city job in Tokyo, when he comes home he can relax looking out over rice fields in this Bōsō Peninsula home.

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