Built in 1974, this summer house materializes the act of covering a piece of earth, making it an inhabitation only by means of a roof protecting the dirt soil of the ground. The house lies on a slope in a middle of a wood and grows through an exposed timber frame structure which supports a large pitched roof. Under the roof, a minimal section of the house located on a side hosts some specific living functions concentrated on two floors: a bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom and a staircase. This section lies in parallel to the main “earth room” (or “summer room”) and overlooks it.
From the outside, the house looks unassuming, showing a traditional shape and wooden coating. In the inside, it reveals a space ambiguosly suspended between a natural and an architectural landscape with no specific function, where the white coated roof covers horizontally a dark soil and the gentle slope of the ground is contrasted by the geometrical preciseness of the roof and the structure.
Apparently Tanikawa wrote a poem to inspire the project and gave the architect a brief through the language he was most confident with. He needed a “fortress”, a place of calm, to live in with his family and conduct his work.
More on Shinohara’s work on SOCKS: The Overturn of the Traditional Model in Two Houses by Kazuo Shinohara and Kengo Kuma