Views are often touted as a major feature when buying a home, but there’s a certain comfort associated with being intimately connected with the earth. A young Japanese couple and their children were willing to give up living on the top level of a residence in Tamano, Okayama, in order to cultivate a closer bond with what lies beneath, and enlisted Keisuke Maeda of UID Architects to create the Pit House—a curving, slightly subterranean home developed into the slope of a hill.
"The relationship between the natural environment and architecture of a site exists simultaneously," Maeda tells Co.Design; that bond between the two is especially apparent on this site, where the ground outside is at eye-level when viewed from within, and the two are separated by a series of frameless window panes. Inside, a concrete cylinder acts as a kind of "core" to the residence, connecting the various levels and echoing the rounded forms of the walls that surround it. The exposed knots and grains of the floor-to-ceiling expanses of wood complement the spindly trees growing up from within custom rock beds. The squared second floor extension rests on thin pillars that support it like "delicate branches," Maeda says. It’s remarkable how airy the home feels despite the fact it’s halfway hidden in a hill.