assistant completes light filled house of 33 years assistant completes light filled house of 33 years
sep 30, 2013

assistant completes light filled house of 33 years

assistant completes light filled house of 33 years
photo by shinkenchiku-sha




for whom and what, will the things remain unchanged? the impermanent stillness of architecture reveals your memory and future embracing ever-changing complexity.’ – assistant, megumi matsubara & hiroi ariyama


‘house of 33 years’ is a structural composition of multiple wooden-frame pavilions that are nestled within a larger steel-frame that forms the exterior structure. designed by assistant (megumi matsubara & hiroi ariyama), for an elderly couple who moved to a new home, 33 years after living in their first one together. the dwelling took shape over the course of five years, its construction taking place in several locations simultaneously: sendai, aomori, and finally coming together in nara. 




the house is a composition of wooden-framed pavilions nestled within a larger steel structure
photo by shinkenchiku-sha



the individual programs of the house are defined by an arrangement of wooden structures, which also frame views of the interior. these main rooms were developed and built together with local carpenters in aomori, using local materials. their minimal appearance, makes the home’s living space open and airy, tracking the moving of sunlight.



the extension of the steel framework opens up towards the backyard
photo by tadasu yamamoto



the ‘ghost house’ which is positioned as a walkout terrace from the upper floor, looking towards the street facing side of the home, was built in sendai. an homage to philip johnson’s famous house of the same name, was constructed by students of the sendai school of design. the exterior steel structure which envelopes the smaller wooden constructions was built directly on site.


in 2012, the fabrication of the house was in part supported by aomori contemporary art center and the sendai school of design.



detail of the wooden and steel construction
photo by shinkenchiku-sha



the ‘house of 33 years’ project evolved from assistant being invited to participate in artist-in-residence programs at the sendai school of design and aomori contemporary art centre. it was at this point that matsubara and ariyama decided that they should build an unknown experience by linking the two institutions through a single residential housing project. designed on the notion of ‘moving architecture’, assistant created two individual schemes for each of the institutions, which came together in nara as the originally-designed single house.



photo by shinkenchiku-sha



there are types of architecture for which associated narratives rather than their designs are critical to the determination of their value. the work house of 33 years is also a piece of architecture of that kind, accompanied by countless fascinating stories. those stories are not necessarily created intentionally by the architect’s hand, but rather, stem from a variety of other chance elements, including the relation between the client and the architect, the conditions of the given site, and the timing of its construction, among other things. house of 33 years seems to be full of potential to draw interesting coincidences.’ – hiroyuki hattori, curator of aomori contemporary art centre



view of the wooden pavilions within the larger steel framework
photo by shinkenchiku-sha



photo by tadasu yamamoto



photo by tadasu yamamoto



view of indoor and outdoor transitions
photo by tadasu yamamoto



aerial view of one of the living spaces
photo by shinkenchiku-sha



view across the top floor
photo by tadasu yamamoto



photos by tadasu yamamoto



project info:

name: house of 33 years
location: nara, japan

architects: megumi matsubara & hiroi ariyama / assistant
client: private
purpose: private residence
structural engineer: mitsuda structural consultants
site area: 189 sqm
building area: 76 sqm
total floor area: 104 sqm
structure: steel frame, wooden
number of storeys: 2 storeys
construction period: march 2011 –  june 2013
photography: shinkenchiku-sha, tadasu yamamoto, aomori contemporary art centre, sendai school of design, megumi matsubara, assistant

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