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satoru ito architects builds a japanese timber farmhouse in kashima

a house designed for its rural roots in kashima


Satoru Ito Architects and Associates designs this House in Kashima for a couple and their two children. Covering only a single-level, the interiors are a celebration of their exposed timber structure. The site is located in Japan‘s Ibaraki Prefecture and lies along the eastern edge of a region that was largely farmland until it was developed into a sprawling residential area following World War II, a period of rapid growth for the place.


The plot itself is large enough to host a dwelling surrounded by a large garden, a characteristic which the architects sought to highlight. ‘If the garden is not designed to allow people to go outside, it will become a negative external space where weeds will only eat up time and effort,’ notes the design team, ‘One of the important themes of this project was how to create a relationship between the inside and outside without wasting the large site.’

satoru ito architects kashimaimages © Vincent Hecht | @atelier.vincent.hecht



satoru ito looks to the farmhouse typology


In organizing its House in Kashima, Satoru Ito Architects and Associates ensures a balance between functional living spaces and gardened outdoor areas, dividing the useful programming among secondary buildings. The farmhouse typology was used as precedent, as such dwellings often encompass a main house, a barn, and a warehouse, with occupants often moving in-between to make full use of the interstitial outdoor space. ‘Referring to this type of housing, we decided to divide the building into the main house, parking lot, outdoor storage, and water supply area,’ note the architects.

satoru ito architects kashima



crossing inside from the garden


Satoru Ito Architects’ House in Kashima is recognized primarily by its main house, surrounded by eaves on all four sides. The team notes that these eaves are ‘one room deep,’ creating a semi-enclosed threshold — finished with an earthen floor and a deck — which obscures the boundary between the garden and the interiors. These dramatic eaves are supported with a thoughtful structure which makes use of ‘elbows’ rather than columns to ensure an uninterrupted zone.

satoru ito architects kashimasliding doors segment the interiors according to the needs of the occupant

satoru ito architects kashimaoccupants cross a number of layered thresholds between the garden and the center of the house

satoru ito architects kashimasunlight floods the interiors through full-height windows


lofty ceilings express the timber structure

satoru ito architects kashima
the interior has a circulation line without dead ends to create a layered sense of depth


a sheltered car park softens the house’s boundary






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