House in Sonobe, Tato Architects, residential architecture, exterior view of a house, sloping roof house

House in Sonobe | Tato Architects

| 15 : 30 – 22 April 2019 |

House in Sonobe, Tato Architects, residential architecture, exterior view of a house, sloping roof house


House in Sonobe designed by Tato Architects, located in residential district of Nantan boasts terrace enclosures as sunrooms to adapt local climate.

Wide eaved terrace, semi-outdoor spaces, square grid with diagonals ends as intimate or void spaces in the house act as interface between surrounding environment. Inspired by local architecture, the architects enclosed the ‘sunrooms’ with doors which can open to adjoining space.

House in Sonobe, Tato Architects, residential architecture, exterior view of a house, sunroom, enclosed verandah, polycarbonate enclosure

Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

The ground floor encloses sunroom, storage, guest room,living, kitchen and dining room. A staircase from the sunroom leads one directly to the upper floor. A bedroom with an attached terrace is located on first floor. Located at south-side of the house are lean-to shed enclosing storage and alcove space – a common feature amongst neighbourhood.


Floor plan, residence floor plan, CAD drawing for small residence, Tato Architects


Floor plan – Ground+First    © Tato Architects


Stairs, Staircase, stair design, stairs within a enclosed porch, House in Sonobe

Staircase from the sunroom leads to upper floor.    Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

A small mound of earth, reclaimed from foundation works is being nurtured as a future garden. The interiors is mostly finished up in Moiss – a material suitable to wet climate that captures light and regulates humidity.

Bedroom space, spacious bedroom, House in Sonobe

View from the bedroom towards stair entry and attached terrace.    Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha


House in Sonobe, living room, residential design, angled rooms

View of kitchen and adjoining spaces from living.   Photo © Yohei Sasakura

From the Architects –

This house stands in a new residential district in the mountains, which was put up for sale in the 1990’s. The region has a slightly cool and wet climate. When looking at other houses in the vicinity; you can see that many of them feature lean-to-sheds, designed as small sunrooms. They are made by enclosing a back entrance or veranda with corrugated polycarbonate panels.

polycarbonate enclosure, House in Sonobe, polycarbonate walls, partitions

Sunroom or terrace enclosures with sliding door.     Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

These so-called ‘terrace enclosures’ are often used as storehouses in winter, or as places for drying laundry. It’s a very clever feature, that we realized represents, a certain style shared among the various new mass-produced houses of this residential district.

Polycarbonate partition wall

View from dining space towards enclosed sunroom.   Photo – © Yohei Sasakura


House in Sonobe, Aerial view, drone photography, Sonobe residential district

Drone view of Sonobe house amongst its neighbourhood.    Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

We used these terrace enclosures as inspiration for the materials and functions of our sunroom. We also incorporated a wide-eaved terrace and other semi-outdoor spaces into the interior of the house. Our expectation was that these would act as interfaces between the surrounding environments.

Wood and Glass partition

Wide eaves cover terrace on first floor.    Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

Axonometric view, Sketch, House in Sonobe, diagram

Diagrammatic presentation of the house and enclosure

Volumes within Sonobe house –

Regarding the volume of the house, we used a simple square grid and its diagonals to create the different spaces. One of the space is intimately sized, and another containing a spacious void. To each of these, we attached semi-outdoor spaces. The wall of the sunroom is made from a large hanging door.

double height space, view from balcony, bird's eye view

Double height volume in sunroom.    Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

It can slide open to turn the sunroom into an outdoor area, or enclose the second floor space under the eaves. On the south side of the site, we followed the example of the neighborhoods lean-to sheds and created an alcove and storage space.

Terrace enclosure and alcove. 


Sliding door encloses the sunrooms during wet climate.   Photo – © Yohei Sasakura

Around the house, centered on the site, we piled up the earth left over from the foundation work in an attempt to reclaim the original slope that existed before the site was developed into tiered platforms for residential development. This reclaimed mound of earth will be covered in grass, and with time, the owners will make it into a garden.

View from the terrace towards the garden.   Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

House in Sonobe, Kitchen space, modern kitchen

Contemporary, modern-styled kitchen.   Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

Dining space.    Photo © Shinkenchiku_Sha

Interior materials –

The interior is finished using Moiss, a material that catches light and regulates humidity.

House in Sonobe, Tato Architects, residential architecture, living room

Light, airy, minimalist living space across the window seat.   Photo – © Yohei Sasakura


Crystal clear spaces !   Photo – © Yosuke Ohtake


Storage behind mirror near washbasin.   Photo – © Shinkenchiku_Sha

Glass inserted at the boundaries reflects and permeates the light, like facets of a crystal. This house embodies a variety of interior scenery intermixed with landscapes from near and far.

Interior spaces lit by natural light.    Photo – ©Yosuke Ohtake

Project details – 

Project Name – House in Sonobe

Location – Nantan, Kyoto, Japan

Architect Firm – Tato Architects |

Lead Architects – Yo Shimada | Design team – Shimada, Yasue Imai

Project type – Residence, Private home

Photography  – © Shinkenchiku_Sha, Yohei Sasakura, Yosuke Ohtake

Completion Year – 2017

Area – Site: 331.15 sq. mt. | Built-up : 84.59 sq. mt.

Structural design –  Takashi Manda Structural Design – Takashi Manda, Taijiro Kato

Construction – Shoken Kikaku

Leave a Reply