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This home’s humble size and material makeup belie its marvelousness. Located in the northern Japanese town of Minoh, Osaka Prefecture, with a view of majestic Mount Aogai, the 87-square-metre house was designed on a tight budget with the aim of ushering in as much of the natural panorama as possible. To that end, its master stroke is a dramatic overhanging roof: Made of corrugated metal, lined in timber and integrating a massive polycarbonate skylight, it brings in the blue sky and lush vista while also creating an intimate in-between zone under its eaves.

“House in Minohshinmachi expresses that it’s possible to have a beautiful and interesting house that’s also economical.”
Adelaide Testa, AZ Awards 2021 Juror

This one architectural gesture establishes the building’s style based on an honest use of materials and a balance between opacity and transparency. Inside the one-storey home, which is divided by slender wooden beams, a number of nested rectilinear volumes, white-washed or clad in plywood, contain the kitchen, bath and other functions. Modern and solid, the structures make a wonderful contrast against the classic, airy envelope.

While it seems light and ethereal, the house is highly earthquake-resistant, thanks to the traditional wooden construction method employed in its making. A new expression in a remarkable setting, the project shows that greatness can be achieved with modest means.

Team Yasuyuki Kitamura

Winner: Single-Family Houses
AZ Awards 2021 Winner: House in Minohshinmachi

This home’s humble size and material makeup belie its marvelousness.

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2020
WinnerSingle-Family Houses
Location
Kvitfjell, Norway
Firm
Mork-Ulnes Architects (San Francisco, U.S.)
2013
Award of MeritSingle-Family Houses
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
Firm
J. Mayer H. Architects, Berlin
Team
Jürgen Mayer H. and Marcus Blum, with Paul Angelier, Julian Blümle, Sebastian Finckh and Hugo Reis
2017
People’s ChoiceSingle-Family Houses
Location
Cape Breton, Canada
Firms
Omar Gandhi Architect (Canada) and Design Base 8 (U.S.)