Japanese architects N Maeda Atelier designed this cool house in Yokohama, Japan with a fluid silhouette that flashes forward to the distant future. Dubbed Celluloid Jam, this ultramodern house has a continuous exterior with no visible joints, no breaks, and organically shaped windows filling the white frame. The walls wrap around an interior courtyard, and flow up to form the home’s walls and upper level balcony, circling around the roof in a continuous ribbon of white. Set on a steep slope, the nearby neighbors are either above or below the home, bringing privacy and clear outward views. Balconies and large expanses of glass frame scenes of the landscaped grounds and surrounding city, yet you feel like you’re a million miles away from it all.
The architects describe it best: “If you let your finger run across the complete surface of Celluloid Jam, no matter where you would start, you could go in one round from exterior to interior and back to your starting point without taking a break; [and] touch every point on the exterior as well as on the interior and return back to your starting point without lifting your finger once.”
It’s like a funhouse for architecture enthusiasts – the wildly undulating exterior projects up and slides back down, encircling windows and entries into the home, and passages through the structure itself.
A terrace area runs along the upper level, adding an alfresco element to this house. A balcony projects off the building and winds into the woods and around existing trees, transforming nature into an architectural element. It’s a prime example of how this house was designed as part of the earth, as opposed to something simply placed on it. The architects explain, “to build an architecture does not merely mean to ‘put something on the ground,’ but rather to come closer to the grounds’ scrupulous dealing.”
The sculptural white walls of this home are out of this world. You almost forget that neighbors are just steps away from you in every direction in this densely populated residential area. It also helps that the house is situated on a hillside, leaving the downhill view totally unobstructed.
Along its exterior, artful illumination highlights every arc, every curving corner, every sweeping wall.
Behind the exterior walls, a private interior courtyard marries nature and architecture – a beautiful pairing.
From inside the perimeter wall, you get a totally new view, like looking at a sculpture from a different angle. Follow the path around the house, which becomes an experience in itself. White light glows warmly from inside the house, playing with the exterior lighting to highlight the ups and down of the rolling white walls.
The white exterior flows inside, where it contrasts a deep, earthy main floor living area. A built-in shelf veils an entire wall, adding some dark drama and a great display area for prized artwork and cherished collections. Natural light flows in through the massive windows, opening up the area and enhancing its sense of size.
Interiors are as fluid as the exterior, with floors that round up into walls and curve continuously into ceilings. A minimalist palette of white washes the entire house, inside and out, bringing a futuristic feel that is cool and contemporary. Details are few, apart from the actual architecture, which is brimming with shapes, playing with shadow and light.
Floor-to-ceiling glass walls line the upper level, flooding interiors with bright light and blurring the boundary between inside and out.
Walls, floors and ceilings feature a glossy white finish with a “wet” look that complements their “melted” curving shape.
Curving interior walls carry the same sense of movement as the facade.
Ironically, what stands out most about these interiors are the home’s quiet simplicity, minimalist decor style and clean backdrop.
Follow the light to the end of the tunnel…
At the top of this all-white stairway (stairs, walls and all!) a bathroom is entirely bathed in white. Glass walls divide the different areas within this spa-style space – the toilet and sink, bathtub and shower – without closing in any area. The result is a bright, open bathing area with a view of the outdoors.
With the sweet serenity offered by these interiors, it’s hard to believe that in this house, you’re completely surrounded.
Here are some floor plans: