A Room with a View of Rice FieldsCulture
This house is located in a small city on the Bōsō Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture. It is built on the edge of a new residential zone beside an area of rice fields, and the father of the household commutes from here to his job in Tokyo. The family of four’s top priority for the architect was to have a large common area where they could take in views of the nearby fields and listen to music together.
The architect’s concept was of a house something like an animal’s burrow. From the street, it seems to be simply an inorganic, geometric box with nothing visible inside, ensuring residents’ privacy. Inside, however, is a space full of life—one that lets in plentiful light and wind, offering a sense of being right on the border of the natural world.
Four large sliding bay windows in the common room are fully retractable. When they are open, the wooden flooring extends into an outdoor terrace. While looking out at the rice fields, the adults can relax as the children play. Every meal can be a picnic.
The ability to open the house up helps the family get through the changing seasons with less reliance on air conditioning. In spring, they can hear the song of birds like bush warblers and the noises of small animals. In summer they can throw the windows wide open to let the wind pass through. Autumn brings the cries of insects and changing colors in the trees and paddies. Winter is when the smell of the burning rice fields rises and the stars shine brightest in the clear skies.
© Jérémie Souteyrat
(Originally written in French by Manuel Tardits and published on June 5, 2018. Photographs by Jérémie Souteyrat. Banner photo: The common room and the view of rice fields to the north at Kiritōshi no ie [Cutting House], designed by Sugawara Daisuke, 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.