sakai architects takes to amami ōshima island
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Amami Ōshima Island, this House in Toguchi has been completed by Japanese studio Sakai Architects. The home of an emergency medicine physician, a beautician and their three children as well as their dog. dwelling The adjacent hair salon is not only a place to live, but also a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The structure is arranged in a way that allows for a lot of flexibility. concrete and timber, the architects have framed the lush surroundings and incorporated the family’s specific needs into the design. This space is a celebration of both the functionality of the island and its tranquillity.
The house is located in an area of the island that has few vacation homes or guesthouses. The couple’s choice of this location was driven by a desire to raise their children in a natural environment and to offer the Emergency Room doctor a peaceful escape from the city. The house is situated on a large plot of 1,000 square meters, and it’s surrounded with native plants. It gently slopes from the mountain down to the sea.
A private home with a salon
One distinctive aspect of Sakai Architects‘ House in Toguchi project is its approach to circulation. The northwest portion of the plot is home to the two-story residence. A terrace extends towards the ocean and acts as a zone that transitions between interior and exterior space. The front door is not the main entrance for visitors — instead, both the living room and salon are accessed through the terrace. This choice is inspired by the traditional engawa – a semi-enclosed veranda used to welcome close friends and family.
Inside the project’s residential wing, the house is divided across two levels. The first level is the shared and functional spaces, such as the dining, living and kitchen areas. They open to views of the ocean. Upstairs, sleeping spaces unfold with the master bedroom and children’s rooms. Design elements such as partial cutouts in walls and a tall closet partition, which are strategically placed, promote connection and natural illumination. These elements enable the family members to feel each other’s presence throughout the house. While the salon is discretely placed between the house terrace, it maintains customer privacy and frames lush views.
Toguchi house of concrete and timber
The House at Toguchi is a strong structure in a typhoon-prone region. Its reinforced concrete frame ensures its structural integrity. The timber roof structure reduces solar heat and helps save money. The home’s elevated hillside position provides natural ventilation year-round, eliminating the need for air conditioning even in the midst of summer.
The sea and mountains are framed by carefully placed windows. The windows have deep eaves that serve to both block harsh sunlight and allow ambient light. To ensure privacy and shield the interior from the intense western sun, the west facade remains mostly closed — this space is thoughtfully punctuated by skylights to allow essential daylight.
Skylights flood the interior with ambient daylight
Views of lush island scenery framed by architectsInteriors that celebrate exposed concrete and a expressive timber roof structure