This combined home and business sits on the skirts of Nihondaira, a hilly area just outside central Shizuoka City. The neighborhood is a mixture of large old farmhouses, tea fields, and new housing developments, with small shops nestled into the laid-back surroundings.The streets curve slightly as they climb gently toward the hills as if they were built on top of the old paths between fields.They lead, too, to openings where Mt. Fuji suddenly comes into view. It is in just such a spot that this house is located.
Our first step toward ensuring a smooth coexistence between the house and its surroundings was to think about how walls could be used to provide a sense of separation from the neighborhood and modulate the residents’ level of privacy. We next opened up the house in directions that brought in views and a feeling of depth.
The first floor houses a shop where the building’s owner sells clothes and miscellaneous items made from natural materials, intended to be used and loved for many years. The second floor is a light- and breeze-filled space where the owner’s mother lives. Our goal was to clearly separate the shop from the residence upstairs while still allowing the users of both spaces to feel each other’s reassuring presence. The resulting structure is slightly different from a typical multi-generation home; instead, a simple, compact square form contains space for two generations to work, live, and keep an eye on one another.