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A Complex House With A Simple Spiral Staircase


Kazunori Fujimoto Architect and Associates’ ‘House in Ashiya’ is a minimalist concrete home in Hyogo, Japan, where space limitation is overcome through ingenious architectural design.

Nestled between residential homes and the green scenery of Mount Rokko, the composition of the house is meant to establish an ever-present connection between the inside and outside environments. The layout has been carefully considered to maximize space while maintaining the structural purity of the house. Simple concrete cross-walls divide the double storey space into smaller rooms. The outer walls of the living area are set in the Japanese windmill style, and the many windows dotting the house’s structure show a similar rotational arrangement. The glass openings—set at strategic heights to ensure privacy—open the indoor spaces outwards in all directions, taking in the surroundings as much as possible. The most outstanding architectural element of ‘House in Ashya’ is the unique spiral staircase that connects the living area to the upstairs bedrooms. Reflecting a design philosophy of refined simplicity and essentiality, the stairway’s simple geometry and delicate curvature add a softness to the rigidity of the surrounding space. It was primarily conceived as an effective solution to the house’s spatial limitations: its spiral curve and the minimal thickness of the slab allow for the space below it to be used as a corridor. The stairway, however, goes beyond the strictly functional: it is also a Yorishiro—in the Shinto religion, an object capable of attracting spirits, and a symbol of family unity.

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All images © Kazunori Fujimoto

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