360° House / YUUA Architects & Associates
Text description provided by the architects. The ‘360° House’ is a freestanding house located in the outskirt hills of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. The residence is designed around a circular courtyard with timber construction radiating outward into the interior of the building. The interior spaces are oriented towards the courtyard and follow the radial lines set out by the visible timber beams. The layout of the rooms is determined by a circular path of access wrapping around the courtyard, giving the dweller an ever-changing perspective of the courtyard and the interiors surrounding it. Hence, the dweller might see the courtyard function as an architectural clock; dynamically lighting up different parts of the building during the day and continually changing during the seasons.
Apart from light, the courtyard provides the dweller with more natural spectacles. As Sapporo is in the very northernmost region of Japan it faces bitter winters and heavy snowfall on a yearly basis. The circular courtyard invites the weather into the living space whilst keeping the dwellers warm and comfortable, temporarily creating the effect of living inside a snow globe. The bedrooms are some of the few rooms not oriented towards the courtyard but rather towards the forested hills surrounding the residence. This offers the dwellers some scenic views and anchors the building in its surroundings. By separating this space, the architecture creates several levels of privacy and offers the residents a private retreat from the visually connected spaces surrounding the courtyard.
The timber construction bonds the spaces together with its radial structure as a repeating architectural motive throughout the building. The beams radiate from the columns set at 15° intervals around the circular courtyard and integrate into the building’s furniture on the outer perimeter of the building. This design gives structural properties to most of the interior walls and furniture, integrating the timber frame as both an esthetic element as well as a functional and structural element of the architecture. Apart from coping with these geometric challenges, the internal truss structure also traverses a large span over the front parking area whilst concurrently being fully compliant with the latest earthquake-proof construction standards.
Both the construction materials and finishes are predominantly locally manufactured and extracted showcasing the latest sustainable building methods from Hokkaido. The interior creates a contrast with the cold snowy outside by using the natural warmth of the wood-clad interior whilst a whitewashed wood finish and traditional plasterwork offers a sense of lightness. This creates an intimate atmosphere throughout the building despite the large glass surface that borders every room. The utilization of natural and local materials in combination with a fully integrated climate solution guarantees the building’s efficient energy performance and a sustainable carbon footprint. On top of that, both the heating, air-conditioning, and drainage systems are completely invisible giving the building an uncluttered esthetic. All in all the ‘360° House’ offers the residents a unique habitat and the opportunity to grow their family around the central courtyard.