House in Muko: Redefining Japanese Residential Design in Kyoto

Tomohiro Hata Architect & Associates have unveiled a captivating new residential project in the heart of Kyoto, Japan. The “House in Muko” blends traditional farmhouse aesthetics with modern living, creating a harmonious balance between the past and present. Situated amidst the lush farmlands and bamboo forests of Muko City, this 2023 design showcases a thoughtful approach to preserving the region’s historical architectural elements while embracing contemporary living standards.

A modern architectural design with a central courtyard and glass walls overlooking a lush garden.
A modern glass-walled home surrounded by a lush, landscaped garden with a central lawn.
Minimalist concrete and wood interior with large windows overlooking lush greenery.
Striking concrete staircase and expansive glass walls framing lush garden view.
Expansive open-plan interior with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and an internal courtyard garden.
Serene Japanese-inspired room with wood paneling, paper screens, and garden view.
Concrete architecture features slanted ceilings, abundant glazing, and a wooden deck.
Concrete architectural structure with expansive glass walls and lush outdoor garden.
Spacious bathroom with large windows overlooking a lush, green outdoor garden.
Minimalist architectural design with wooden walls, concrete floors, and a serene garden view.
An angular, modern concrete structure with various architectural elements and vegetation.
Aerial view of a densely built Japanese town with diverse architectural styles.

About House in Muko

In Kyoto, Japan, the Muko House by Tomohiro Hata Architect & Associates stands as a captivating blend of the region’s traditional roots and contemporary living. Nestled amidst sprawling farmland and bamboo forests, this modern residence pays homage to the area’s historic farm-style habitations.

Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future

Formerly, this site was dotted with a patchwork of historical residences and new constructions, as rapid urbanization threatened the region’s unique architectural heritage. However, the architects recognized the challenge of seamlessly integrating the past and present, creating a harmonious living space that resonates with the local tradition.

Reinventing the Farmhouse Concept

The design team drew inspiration from the traditional farm-style house, which typically featured a spacious living area with open spaces and agricultural fields. Moreover, these houses were organized in a hierarchical cluster around the main residence. Nonetheless, the Muko House challenges this hierarchy by dissolving the centrality of the main building, instead crafting a series of neutral and free-flowing living spaces.

A Courtyard-Inspired Masterpiece

The result is a contemporary residence that resembles a Japanese-style courtyard, where small clusters of houses collide and meld into one another, enclosing a vast living area. This innovative approach seamlessly blends the region’s traditional way of life with modern living, creating a unique and expansive living experience.

Connecting with the Landscape

Situated amidst the agricultural and natural landscapes of Muko, the house aims to expand the living space in recognition of the surrounding city. By layering the unique local traditions with modern design sensibilities, the Muko House establishes a profound connection to the area’s history and the evolving urban landscape.

Photography by Toshiyuki Yano
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- by Matt Watts