Miyajidake Jinja is a shrine in Fukutsu City, where the sunset that stretches from the shrine grounds, along the road leading from the shrine gates to the Genkai Sea was recently named the “Light Path”. Its popularity has grown in the last few years and the number of visitors coming to pray has increased.
About a year ago, a project to rebuild a house along this road was started. This existing two-story wooden building, which is likely several decades old, was becoming especially old, so we decided to clear the land completely in order to build a new house.
The site has a long and narrow shape with the narrow frontage of a traditional townhouse, which is like a so-called “bed for an eel”.
To make full use of it, our plan consisted of half of the house in the foreground and the other half in the back, the two halves connecting to each other via a corridor.
In the forward half, we allocated a living-dining room and kitchen where relatives living in the neighborhood can gather together. And the couple’s bedroom and study room were in the back half. Courtyards on both sides of the corridor serve as light coat ventilators providing ventilation and natural light for the two houses.
Our main issue was the forward half building façade. The previous building was built with its back to the front road. Being a structure standing along the approach to the shrine, we wanted it to blend into its elegant and quaint surroundings. Layering with wooden lattice, transparent glass, and dynamic structural braces (cross bracing) created textures. Moreover the pull-in sliding paper doors (the base layer of the façade) of the innermost rising floor allow for privacy at night when the light path sleeps and during the many times in the year when the street is overflowing with visitors to the shrine. (Kenshi MATSUMOTO)