All images: Hiroyuki Hirai, Shigeru Ban Architects
Shigeru Ban’s Crescent House sits on pilotis atop a hill in Shizuoka Prefecture like a boomerang thrown from space, amid an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood of villas and summer homes. Occupants enter the house from below, on a staircase that just barely touches the ground. They ascend up into the body of the house through the structural shell, ‘C’-shape in both plan and section to unify floor, supporting wall and ceiling. Bedrooms on either end of the house are separated by a central living/dining/kitchen space.
The design of the site and the house is centered around an unencumbered view of Mt. Fuji to the north. To maximize this view, the entire northern façade of the house is either glazed or left open, with window frames and mullions concealed within the ceiling and floor. The entire interior surface is wrapped in cypress board, creating continuity between indoors and outdoors. The opaque shell curves to the east, south, and west, blocking neighbors’ views onto the property and maintaining privacy. This configuration also blocks strong southern light which keeps the house cool in the summer while opening the home up to the even, mellow northern light. The Crescent House is a(nother) great example of villa architecture, delighting in the careful play between opposites: between inside and outside, between privacy and view, between comfort and adventure.
Entry from below
Continuous cypress cladding makes a smooth transition between inside and outside
The shell blocks unwelcome views