Atsushi Hio's "Glass Wall": A Harmonious Blend of Modern Design and Nature

Award-Winning Residential House Design Balancing Privacy, Comfort, and Aesthetics

Atsushi Hio's "Glass Wall" is an architectural marvel that blends modern design with nature-inspired elements. Located in a quiet, luxury residential area in Himeji, Japan, this house harmoniously fits into its 50-year-old surroundings while offering a unique, contemporary lifestyle. The design, which won the Silver A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2023, is a testament to Hio's innovative approach to residential architecture.

The "Glass Wall" is a result of the client's desire for a space that ensures privacy and makes good use of the difference in elevation of the land. To meet this requirement, Hio adopted a reinforced concrete structure, which not only provides a large interior space but also offers high earthquake resistance - a crucial factor in Japan. The front of the building features three box shapes arranged at different heights, breaking the monotony of the design. A section of the building features a glass wall, behind which lies an atrium space that emits a fantastic light, making the lighting fixtures the icon of the building.

The realization of the "Glass Wall" design involved the use of reinforced concrete structures to maximize interior space and ensure strength against earthquakes. The front appearance of the house is separated into three box shapes to avoid a monotonous design. Part of it has a glass wall. In addition, the wood grain of the cedar board is transferred to the concrete wall, preventing it from looking cold.

The house, built on a land area of 591 square meters with a building area of 356 square meters, was designed to be as comfortable as possible for the client. The design team examined how the difference in elevation of the land affected the design and everyday life, including how to utilize effective space and ensure privacy. They devised ideas to eliminate as many steps as possible, making the interior comfortable for the client.

An important aspect of the design of this house is the use of large glass openings in the living room, which has a high atrium, because the house is located on a hill, which allows for privacy from the outside. By researching how light enters each season in the planned site, the living room was designed to be lit with sunlight all year round, to achieve both design and ecology and to improve performance.

One of the challenges faced during the design process was ensuring the right amount of light and shadow using natural lighting and artificial illuminance. The expression of light and shadow changes depending on the time of day, weather, and the material and color of the space. In this design, walnut natural wood boards were used for the walls in the rooms. However, the walnut walls absorbed more light than expected, so the expected brightness was not obtained. But the problem was solved by increasing the illuminance and adding new lighting equipment.

The "Glass Wall" was built in March 2022 in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. This house is located on a hill and the height difference of the land is well utilized to ensure privacy and even lighting. A reinforced concrete structure with high earthquake resistance is adopted, and a glass wall is arranged for a part of it. The living room is an open ceiling and is designed to integrate widely opened space in living room and the courtyard. The second floor of the house offers a view of Himeji Castle, a World Heritage site.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Atsushi Hio
Image Credits: Photographer Senichiro Nogami
Project Team Members: Atsushi Hio
Project Name: Glass Wall
Project Client: Atsushi Hio

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