A house is a reflection of priorities. Open plan or discrete rooms? Ranch or multi-story? Bigger bedrooms or bigger yard? For this compact house in Akashi, Japan, it’s all about access to nature. The 1,800-square-foot house dedicates a significant portion of the site to indoor courtyards that make the home feel like it’s part of a mini arboretum.
Japanese studio Arbol designed the timber house with an exterior cladding that disguises the series of interior courtyards. From the outside, the home looks like a simple, windowless box. Inside, light filters through the courtyards and into the rooms, giving the space a soft, diffused glow.
The architects divided the home into three main zones—a living room, a dining-room-meets-kitchen, and a room with a traditional tatami floor. Each zone has a wall of windows and a sliding glass door that leads to a private courtyard outfitted with rocks, bushes, and trees.
Looking through the windows towards the outside, there are no streets or neighbors—just a perfectly serene landscape that the owners can call their own.