Follow Us




Views Step into Homes Built by Architects
A House Where Light and Shadow Play

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


Lattice flooring that doubles as a ceiling in this house lets through light and air, creating a sense of connection between the upper and lower stories.

Maison à Komazawa (designed by Gō Hasegawa and Associates, 2011) viewed from the east.

Looking down at the living room from the stairs.

A large window lets in light by the staircase.

Cozy bedrooms on the upper floor.

The study sometimes becomes an impromptu playroom.

The play of light and shadows through the lattice ceiling.

This house appears quite similar to others in its Komazawa neighborhood in Setagaya, Tokyo. The architects sought a new style, however, by reinterpreting Japan’s archetypal postwar housing through the material used in walls, the relationship between the upper and lower stories, and the positioning of the windows. The subdued colors of the eucalyptus planks used for the walls and roof convey something of the atmosphere of traditional kominka folk houses.

The owners previously lived on the top floor of an apartment building, which they found sunny and well ventilated. They wished for the same conditions in their new home, while at the same time maintaining their privacy. Despite the limited space, they also wanted a large living room.

The second-story floor, which also serves as the first-story ceiling, takes inspiration from traditional Japanese lattice doors. The gaps between planks connect the two spaces, allowing light from the skylight to pass through to the lower rooms and creating impressive shadows.

The large window in the living room is set high enough on the wall to guarantee privacy. Following the traditional shakkei technique, the room “borrows” the view of neighboring plum trees.

The father enjoys looking out at the sky from the bathroom. Meanwhile, the family dog—the same age as the house—settles regularly on the landing at the top of the stairs, which is the only place where it is possible to see the street outside.

© Jérémie Souteyrat

(Originally written in French by Véronique Hours and Fabien Mauduit and published on May 3, 2018. Photographs by Jérémie Souteyrat. Banner photo: The study in Maison à Komazawa, designed by Gō Hasegawa and Associates, 2011.)

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.

  • [2018.06.15]

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.

Related articles
Other articles in this report
  • 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.
  • A Home of Hidden Warmth and LightThis home is like a person who seems standoffish, but conceals a genuine friendliness. Within the cocoon of these walls, the family can stay in tune with the movement of the sun through ample slatted blinds that let the light in.
  • The Dining Room in the SkyThe 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.
  • A Home that Hibernates Through WinterRepository 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.
  • A House Open to the ElementsArchitect couple Kamo Kiwako and Manuel Tardits built their own home in Tokyo as an experiment. They prioritized not everyday comfort, but rather what they could learn by trying to link concrete and nature together.

Related articles

Video highlights

  • From our columnists
  • In the news