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1st prize in Invited Student Competition :

Inverted House

November 2014 - October 2015

About the Competition:

House for Enjoying the Harsh Cold

In the Hokkaido town of Taiki-cho, the winters are cold and isolated. But the architecture and lifestyle in this natural state of coldness and inconvenience can also be seen in a positive way. Sustainable approaches that do not rely on machinery can be found in every region. These include gazing up at the starry sky while wearing a coat, jumping from a hot sauna into an intensely cold lake (a special Finnish pleasure), and Japanese hot springs. In Taiki-cho, beautiful water and greenery exist side-by-side with the severe conditions. What would happen if you tried to create a similar situation with artificial materials? Imagine what kind of building you could create without worrying about the locality of the materials. Please design an exciting facility to enjoy the environment in Taiki-cho. Insulation is okay, but please create something that could be used for a short period that incorporates exciting elements like a bonfire – something that human beings have used since primitive times – or the sound of steam.

Participating Universities: 

Yale University (USA)

Politecnico of Milan (Italy)

Superior Technical School of Architecture of Madrid (Spain)

Istanbul Technical University (Turkey)

Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Norway)

Tokyo University of Agriculture (Japan)

Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris La Villette (France)

Tokyo Institute of Technology (Japan)

Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil)

The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)

Seoul National University (South Korea)

Project Description:

In April of 2015, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design was awarded the first prize in an architectural competition hosted by LIXIL JS Foundation, with an atypical theme: ’House for Enjoying the Harsh Cold’. The outcome, a small guest house in the wilderness of Hokkaido, seeks an intrinsic sustainability. By subtly controlling its architectonic environment, it maximises efficiency and performance of architectural elements.The Inverted House brings the ‘harshness’ of the world into the house itself, by minimalising heated interior and creating a series of interconnected sheltered exterior spaces of various architectonic and micro-climatic qualities. The innovative architectural composition of walls, roofs and floor platforms is an attempt to create a strong experience of living within nature (even sleeping outside) through the precise architectural character given to each space. The Outside Room is covered by a large, gently sloping roof compressing toward surrounding landscape. In contrast, the Inside Room is grounded, narrow and dark, with a low view focused on snow or flowers in the Garden Room outside. The outside bath is hidden closely under the steep roof withstanding main winds, while the sleeping platform floats above snow, with a roof opening toward the sky. It’s a spatial parcours of inside-outside, with varying distance to nature, created by floor heights and roof slopes.We imagined Inverted House as a delicate instrumentation of pieces, rather then one dominating concept. Each wall, floor, roof and pillar has been carefully considered in proportion and relation to the building as a whole and to the world in which it is built.AHO Team



Laura Cristea, Mari Hellum, Stefan Hurrell and Niklas Lenander


Neven Fuchs-Mikac, Thomas McQuillan and Raphael Zuber

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