House in the Forest is a minimal home located in Hokkaido, Japan, designed by Florian Busch Architects. This project begins with close to three hectares of barely touched forest. Only a short distance from Niseko’s ski slopes, the silence here is the antithesis of the vacation bustle that has turned several of the renown ski area’s towns into a haphazard sprawl of increasingly suburban dimensions. Enchanted by the beauty of the region but disturbed by this relentlessly encroaching pseudo-suburbia, the owners, a large family, are seeking escape in the forest’s solitude. Consequentially, the brief is not for a house but for a time in and with the forest.
The site is an almost perfect square with 160-meter-long edges, filled with tall pine trees. A mound prevents any views into the site: The only access, a small rural road running along the northern boundary, was lowered many years ago. About half-way in, there’s a clearing at the site’s western boundary. The House in the Forest is not about a fixed form but an ever-changing dialogue with the forest. The eventually built is merely the result in a process of probing and responding to the surroundings to create a place where the family can be both together and by themselves, where they can become part of the forest.
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