naoi architecture & design office: tiered lodge
naoi architecture & design office: tiered lodge naoi architecture & design office: tiered lodge
jan 31, 2012

naoi architecture & design office: tiered lodge

‘tiered lodge’ by naoi architecture & design office in nasu, japan all images courtesy naoi architecture & design office image © hiroshi ueda

tokyo-based firm naoi architeture & design office (katsutoshi naoi, noriko naoi) has completed ‘tiered lodge’, a multi-storey holiday house for a family of three in the nasu highlands, japan. surrounded by a dense forest of deciduous trees, the design focuses on establishing a sense of unity with the outdoor environment while simultaneously taking advantage of the sloping plot.

on site image © hiroshi ueda

located at an altitude of 1,000m above sea level, the natural topography of the site varies a total of 8 m from the east to the west. in response, one half of the house was stepped down to correspond with the contours of the terrain. pockets of outdoor space was created by shifting and staggering the two halves laterally. the resulting arrangement was connected where they overlapped to create an interior space with levels that overlooked one another. long stretches of glazing and sliding glass doors enable the inhabitants to extend the activities of the house into the outdoors.

east elevation image © hiroshi ueda

(left) approach (right) entrance images © hiroshi ueda

outdoor terrace image © hiroshi ueda

on the lowest level of the dwelling is the dining and kitchen area which is directly connected to the outdoor terrace. a glazed corner of the layout admits a large level of southern sunlight. overlooking this space on a slightly elevated platform is the living room which gains separation in the layout without compromising on the sense of connection between inhabitants. the space gains a different view of the surrounding forest through another floor-to-ceiling window that wraps around the corner of the structure. the bedroom is accommodated on a loft level, gaining privacy from the communal zone below.

view of terrace from kitchen/dining image © hiroshi ueda

interior view image © hiroshi ueda

view towards kitchen and upper level image © hiroshi ueda

from kitchen with living room platform to the left image © hiroshi ueda

(left) stairs to living space (right) towards entrance images © hiroshi ueda

living space platform image © hiroshi ueda

stairs to bedroom image © hiroshi ueda

library image © hiroshi ueda

interior at night image © hiroshi ueda

terrace at nightimage © hiroshi ueda

image © hiroshi ueda

schematic diagram (1) volume – the basic structure is inspired by a primitive hut (2) level – half of the structure is extended downwards in order to conform to the shape of the terrain (3) slide – the volumes are then staggered to form two small houses, which create a sense of depth in relation to the forest (4) void – by hollowing out the parts that overlap with each other, a sense of unity with the outdoor environment is achieved, allowing the forest to traverse the interior of the building

site and floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level +1


(left) west elevation (right) south elevation

  • I expected a real sense of space for this interior, but it just isn\’t there. It\’s too stark, and leaves too little for contrast with such a dead ceiling. I get chills walking the interior yet, from the outside, an extraordinarily warm invitation to come in. It feels like two people, at different intervals of time, neglected to compromise on a concept for such a beautiful setting.

    Studge says:
  • This design is aesthetically very pleasant – I accept it now but try to understand whythe Japanese need to circulate through the lounge/dining area when moving from bedroom to ablution area; in this case the ablutions are situated in the main entry area- I think this planning is not very convenient, especially for older people
    Is this customary planning and how is it explained???

    wwwillem says:
  • yawn…

    dbkii says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

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

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
492,664 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample