Beautiful Experimental Japanese House Inspired by Traditional Ainu Construction

Created for an environmental technology research institute, this experimental house in Japanese is inspired by traditional indigenous architecture.

In the snowy and cold climate of northern Japan, traditional homes use a fire in the center of the floor to warm the ground, and walls fully lined in grass and bamboo store heat. This experimental design, by Kengo Kuma and Associates, was inspired by the same principles.

Instead of grass, the architects used insulation made from recycled plastic water bottles. Because the insulation is translucent, the walls and roof can let light in while effectively keeping heat inside; the architects say that someone could live here without using artificial light at all during the day. Heating comes from a radiant floor system, and the designers report that the home stores heat so well that someone could live here for days in the winter without turning the heat on.

The building was created by an environmental technology research institute, which will run tests to determine the best thermal techniques that can be used in other buildings in cold climates.

Images courtesy of Kengo Kuma and Associates