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Concrete Plinths Elevate Woodland House Like a Bridge

Located in the Nagano Prefecture, Japan and designed by Toshihito Yokouchi, House in the Woods is positioned on a site on the western foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains approximately 1500m above sea level. The woodland location is damp and by elevating the home above the moist conditions with 2 concrete plinths, the home’s wood design stays dry. The two plinths also create a bridge effect for the long, linear floor plan and this means that wildlife can easily travel below the house as though it wasn’t even there.

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By elevating House in the Woods above ground the architects where also able to “level out” the house on the irregular topography.

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A gravel driveway leading up to House in the Woods was leveled out and large boulders found on the site line the edge, acting like a natural retaining wall.

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With the social and private zones of House in the Woods high above ground, window treatments are not needed in the evening when the lights are on.

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Access to the home is on the outside of the tall plinth, which also holds a niche, fitted with two propane tanks that feed the fireplace in the living room above.

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Once inside the concrete plinth a wood stairwell leads up to the living room, in an ode to the wood that is the main building material, the stair rail system is made from a series of vertically installed 2x4s.

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The stairwell leads up to the living room with its landing between the fireplace and the wall of windows.

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The entire interior of this level is clad in wood, including the kitchen cabinetry and even the furnishings.

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The media center has been positioned between the fireplace and the stairwell and with seating on three sides, there is plenty seats to sit and enjoy the TV, fireplace or the views.

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The fireplace is centrally located in the width of the home and with the stairwell on one side, a hallway leads to a private space behind the fireplace on the other side.

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The private space is a secluded seating area that can be used as an office, craft space, meeting room, or of course a place to eat.

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The main eating area, or dining room is located behind the living room and in front of the kitchen.

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The kitchen is a small space tucked onto a wall between a door to the private zones and the window wall, by having the dining room nearby the table can double as extra prep space if need by.

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The 2 bedrooms and the master suite still feature wood ceilings and doors but the flooring has been replaced with carpeting and the walls are drywalled.

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Every room has beautiful views of the surrounding forest and with the home perched up high on the concrete plinths it is almost like living in a tree house.

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As ideal as the a raised House in the Woods is, the added water feature within the concrete plinth makes it just that much more magical.

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Toshihito Yokouchi Architect and Associates.
Photography courtesy of Toshihito Yokouchi.
Living amongst the forest in a raised wood house creates the perfect tree house ambiance but if you live in suburbia you can still have a similar type of ambiance by building a backyard structure with a roof deck covered in growing vines.

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