naka architects' studio constructs adaptable villa in hakuba naka architects' studio constructs adaptable villa in hakuba
jan 02, 2014

naka architects' studio constructs adaptable villa in hakuba

naka architects’ studio constructs adaptable villa in hakuba
photo by koichi torimura
all images courtesy of naka architects’ studio




located in an area of japan known for its international skiing resort, ‘villa in hakuba’ is an adaptable and constantly evolving home which reacts to the region’s changing climate. designed by local practice naka architects’ studio, the dwelling is conceived as an ‘environmental device’, establishing a close relationship with its natural landscape.



an uninterrupted ground plane forges a continuous connection with the scheme’s surroundings
photo by koichi torimura




contrasting neighboring houses, which set flooring 1 meter above the earth – protecting against snow fall – an uninterrupted ground plane forges a continuous connection with the scheme’s immediate surroundings. living accommodation is located primarily at ground level, where internal space opens out on to the sheltered terrace. bedrooms are found at the upper storey of the home, which provides views across the villa’s woodland setting.



semi-external space can be opened to the natural environment in summer months, and enclosed in winter
photos by koichi torimura




during winter months, the strong double-skin roof is able to take the strain exerted by the vast quantities of snow, while in summer, the transparent polycarbonate material allows generous amounts of sunlight to enter the property. a geothermal heat store situated underneath the floor slab provides the house with a constant source of warmth, while the snow which settles on and around the structure serves as further insulation.



living accommodation is housed primarily at ground level
photo by koichi torimura



the flexible space offers views of the scheme’s woodland setting
photo by koichi torimura



the terrace forms a communal area of the design
photo by koichi torimura



during winter, snow acts as a further level of insulation 
photo by koichi torimura



pale timber is used throughout the design
photos by koichi torimura



(left) the terrace at night
(right) ‘villa in hakuba’ surrounded by snow in winter
photos by koichi torimura




project info:


title: villa in hakuba
architect: toshiharu naka
location: kakuba, nagano pref., japan
completed: 2012
photography: koichi torimura

  • Beautiful and cosy!

    Maria Celeste Raposo says:
  • looking forward to seeing the project in October.

    peter van dam says:
  • Nice cabin. Those vinyl drapes in a cold wind would drive me to a hotel.


    JimCan says:
  • Vert hansome-very Japanese, and so it should be. Beautiful outside/inside.

    lynn-harold thompson says:
  • I just love it: simple, practical, small, nice, …

    Alf_ap says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news