As if being a small island nation wasn’t enough, 73% of Japan’s land is occupied by uninhabitable mountainous regions. So flat land obviously comes at a premium. But one architect has now gone where others have tend to shy away: into the sloping side of a mountain. Completed earlier this year, Greendo is an undulating 7-unit residential building that’s been carefully inserted into the side of mountain in a town in Takamatsu City, Japan.
The sloping site of Greendo (green + do, which is Japanese for earth) had been left untouched for years until local architect Keita Nagata came around. Instead of flattening the land and building upward, Nagata proposed a radical new design in which each unit, instead of being stacked on each other, were delicately pushed into the side of the slope. Not only did the idea relieve stress that would have been place on the land and structure, it yielded an organic structure that seamlessly integrates itself into the landscape.
But if this was going to be a home built into the side of a mountain, Nagata wanted to take it a step further. He wanted to create a fully passive home that lived and breathed with the land. Ventilation tubes that connect to the homes travel underground and in the summer the earth naturally cools the air. Conversely, in the winter the air is warmed. Solar panels are also mounted on the roofs, which function as the neighbor’s yard as well. Humidity was a big concern so several layers of anti-humidity insulation were incorporated into the walls.
The units range from 66,000 yen (about $530) to 135,000 (about $1000) per month but it appears that all units are already rented or in contract.