Shell House in Japan

Hidden among the trees in Nagano Prefecture, Japan is a small earthen house designed by Tono Mirai Architects. It combines traditional materials and techniques with contemporary design.

Shell House took inspiration from natural forms to create a small, organic building that blends into the surrounding forest. Like a shell, the house embraces the north and west elevations before opening out to the east and south, where sunlight floods into the interior, blending with the great outdoors.

The house was built with local sustainably harvested timber, earth, and people’s hands, minimizing industrial materials. It was designed according to passive solar principles.Thanks to the use of these materials and strategies, the building was rated 5 stars for energy efficiency by the Japanese environmental assessment system.

images by Takeshi Noguchi

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