When architect duo Mai and Kazuhiro Narita first came to view a plot of land for which they were being asked to construct a family residence, two things immediately became clear. First, the site, situated on the side of a cliff, offered stunning views of the city of Hiroshima. But second, no heavy equipment would be able to access it. Solving for both parts of the equation would go on to inform the ultimate shape of the house.
Aside from being situated on the side of a cliff, another feature of the plot of land was that it was divided into two parts by an old stone wall with one part elevated. The architects came up with the idea of stacking boxes and building upwards as a natural response to the cliff but also as a way to avoid the need for bringing in any heavy equipment. The home is appropriately called hako, meaning box in Japanese. The stop-motion video below gives you a good idea of the process:
Separated by the wall and elevation, the completed house is comprised of two parts. Sitting above is the mother house where an open kitchen, dining room and patio offers stunning views and the perfect space to entertain guests. Below, and on the other side of the wall, are the private spaces like bedrooms and the bathroom.
The architect duo became independent last year and formed their own practice called Kufu. This is one of their first projects as a team. Prior to that, Mari Narita sent several years at Junya Ishigami & Associates while Kazuhiro Narita is an alumni of Taisei Design.