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A Room with a View of Rice Fields

Jérémie Souteyrat [Profile]/Manuel Tardits [Profile]


Although 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.

Approach to the south entrance of Maison tranchée (Cutting House) (designed by Sugawara Daisuke, 2011).

Through the entrance to the common room. In the background is the children’s room.

A budding designer in the children’s room.

The common room looks out on rice fields to the north.

The terrace outside the common room is great for playing or relaxing.

Sitting back and enjoying the view.

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 Maison tranchée [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.

  • [2018.07.20]

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.


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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  • A House Where Light and Shadow PlayLattice 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.
  • 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.

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