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Fortress-like concrete house is the ultimate escape

Shutting out the world one concrete slab at a time

The exterior of a house. The facade is concrete and there are very few windows. There are several terraced levels. Photo: Norihito Yamauchi via Dezeen

How do you shut out the world around you, particularly when the world happens to include a highway that runs directly in front of your house? Simple: Turn your home into a bunker.

That’s what the designers from Japanese firm FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects did with the Tranquil House, a concrete fortress of a home in Shiga, Japan.

A living area with concrete walls, a couch, table, and windows. Photo: Norihito Yamauchi via Dezeen
The exterior of a house. The facade is concrete and there are minimal windows. The roof consists of several terraced levels. Photo: Norihito Yamauchi via Dezeen

The three-bedroom house boasts a nearly windowless facade that blocks out the world around it. Instead of relying solely on windows, the architects designed a soaring entryway with two large skylights that filter natural light into the space. The zen, all-concrete interior is softened by the occasional sliver of glass that lets in sunlight, creating a dynamic show of light and shadows.

Despite its monochromatic backdrop, the house doesn’t feel like a giant concrete box. The home unfolds into a sequence of rooms with varying ceiling heights, which keeps the space interesting with plenty of texture and angles.

A dining area with concrete walls and floors. There is a table, chairs, and a small display dresser. Photo: Norihito Yamauchi via Dezeen
The living area in a concrete house. The ceilings are high, there is a couch, chairs, kitchen island, and a window. Photo: Norihito Yamauchi via Dezeen