masato sekiya has designed a contemporary interpretation of a traditional fishing cabin on the tens riverbank in nara, japan. nestled in the omine mountains, tenkawa village is surrounded by beautiful natural elements. these surroundings and the river’s sharp edge, would prove to be of the highest importance and main influence for the architect’s final design. the site included 6 square meters of flat terrain before beginning a steep 17 meter incline towards the river.

masato sekiya
the structure’s six meter cantilever over the riverbank’s steep incline
images courtesy of planet creations architecture design



preliminary concepts for the design experimented with building upwards, but masato sekiya realized early on that this vision would cause the natural scenery to inevitably suffer. ‘my solution was to dig down nearly to the bedrock and sink the building into the ground, then extend it out into the air over the river.’ sekiya explained, ‘the key to the structure is the creation of balance. it has a structure like a balance, installed on flat bedrock, with a ruffle concrete pillar as a fulcrum, and a mass of concrete to be a counterweight.’

masato sekiya
the site allows for close proximity and easy accessibility to the water’s edge



the partitioned interior can be transformed to cater to the resident’s daily needs. the cantilevered deck, living room, and bedroom can be combined to a single, uninterrupted space — letting the natural light and green views travel throughout the length of the interior. from the road, the structure’s green roof and car park are the only elements of the home that are visible, allowing the living space below to remain open without jeopardizing one’s sense of personal privacy.

masato sekiya
concrete pillars extending almost to the earth’s bedrock stabilize the concrete cantilever

masato sekiya
natural light enters through the open-faced deck and into the rest of the elongated interior

masato sekiya
partitions between the deck, living room, and bedroom can open, creating a unified main interior space

masato sekiya
from the villa’s interior one can see the ‘eye is virgin’ forest and tens river

masato sekiya
the villa blends into its surrounding, maintaining a sense of balance

masato sekiya embeds a contemporary japanese fishing cabin into the tens riverbank in nara
instead of building upwards, the residence sits below ground level 

masato sekiya
from street level, only the structure’s green roof is visible to those to pass, preserving the natural scenery


project info:


project name: cliff house
location: yoshino, nara
architects: planet creations sekiya masato architecture design
lead architects: masato sekiya
project year: 2015
main use: weekend house
structure: reinforced concrete
total area: 70.25 m2
building area: 72.68 m2
site area: 160.01 m2