Its challenging, steeply angled plot helped define the identity of this new Japanese house in Chiba prefecture. Torus House, designed by Tomi City, Nagano-based Noriaki Hanaoka Architecture, is perched boldly on its hillside site, gazing towards north-facing views of buildings and nature, and the sea beyond. Made largely out of concrete, the house feels sturdy and solid, yet sits lightly on the slope, wrapped in swathes of glazing and glistening in the summer sun. 

Dramatic on the inside, as it is on the outside, Torus House is composed internally of one, big flowing space. This open plan arrangement contains living, kitchen, dining and bedroom areas. The openness and the lightness rendered from the glass walls and expansive views, combined with the plot’s incline, make the interior feel like it’s floating above the landscape. At the same time, the strong concrete pillars, braces and slabs anchor it firmly to the ground. 

inside Torus House by Noriaki Hanaoka Architecture looking out

Underneath this piano nobile, as the house is lifted above ground to negotiate the slope, an in between space emerges – sheltered yet open air. Meanwhile, a central void cut through the building’s volume, connects the different levels and ensures light enters every corner of the space inside, aided by sliding doors which provide some privacy if needed but ensure the whole feels like one single room. 

‘As opposed to, as is frequently expected, placing ‘man’ or ‘machine’ at the core of architectural design, we are placing a hole that allows ‘nature’ to permeate the heart of the home. A hole invites wind, rain, and direct sunlight from top to the base of the building. This way, it breathes together with its environment,’ says studio director, architect Noriaki Hanaoka. ‘[Additionally, the] hole in the centre of the space is covered by perforated steel plates to create a sense of continuity between inside and outside, acting like a floating inner garden. The house coexists with infinite nature.’ §


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