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A House for Oiso

DGT Architects

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  • Mechanical Engineer: EOS Plus

Project Status


Year Completed



1,313 sq. feet
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Project Description


Oiso, far from the city—around one hour away, is located in-between the sea and the mountains, with a population of approximately 32,000 people.

“I would like you to design a house that will remain after 100 years,” was the first request by our client. Oiso is a place that retains the trail left by the inhabitants from over 5000 years ago. It is the land in which ancient people lived, who selected the warm climate from the huge island that is Japan. Over time, the trail of various eras remained, from the Yayoi period to the modern age through to the Edo period. The people of Oiso experimented with many different forms of housing, such as pit-dwellings, raised-floor dwellings, dug-standing pillar buildings, machiya (traditional merchant houses), architecture of villas and so on. Then we got one idea: we wanted to design a 'Japanese House' of the living form that captures the essence of Japan from all ages.

We were thinking about Ground Revolution. In 'A HOUSE for OISO', we used the 'soil colour' for the floor of the ground level and the walls. Having excavated the building 60 centimeters more than the surface of the foothold, we reused the remaining soil as a finishing material. The soil performs highly as a building material, with hygroscopic and heat-insulation properties. The building being buried inside the ground allows the soil to entrap the cool temperature in the summer, and warm the floor surface with regenerating radiation floor heating in winter. The second floor is the integrated space of  'the wood color' covering the floor, the wall and the ceiling. We planned the circulation of the air to prevent the wind and rain, and to mitigate the humidity.

The house is designed for a specific place.  Once the place has been decided, we never change it again—we can't choose from a neighboring place. The building belongs not only to the site, but also to the past and to the surrounding land.

Then, we decided this project is 'A HOUSE for OISO'; the house standing for Oiso, not 'HOUSE in OISO'; the house standing in Oiso. What can 'the house' do for the land? Be devoted to it and to permanently maintain a relationship with it? If it could be possible for 'the house' to define one public aspect, beyond the personal relationship with the client and the architect, it would be that the architecture connecting 'the Dignity of Place' should be tied to its future.

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