House M

Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan
Jun Igarashi
Sergio Pironne

House M, designed by Jun Igarashi, is an object of camouflage. Its pristinely white facades blend seamlessly in the winter snow of Hokkaido, Japan. When juxtaposed against the surrounding urban conditions, the project appears like a precious gem in the layers of brown and grey. Its form resembles a miniature urbanscape, as if to respond to the fluctuating contexts of Asahikawa. Yet, House M still maintains a quiet rest for its dwellers, modestly tucking itself away from the rapid pace of the city.

Jun Igarashi has created a complex perception of space within this project. Whereas much urban housing maximises floor area, House M is an integration of different parts. Its modular-like composition consists of different programs, all varied in size and height. The rise and fall of elevation poetically link to their specific usage, making for a symphonic architecture in visuality.

Rooms are scattered like a spontaneous dice game, all connected by a long hallway. This interstitial space also acts as a divisive line between private and public programs. On one side, bedrooms and bathrooms situate themselves around pockets of greens. On another, a double-height kitchen and a living room share the common areas. At some moments, one side overlooks the other through geometric openings like an unspoken exchange of love.

With such a complex configuration, the interior design of the project is kept simple. The all-white palette is occasionally accented with the sandy colour of wood, the dark grey texture of concrete, and the metallic shine of furniture. Sliding doors minimise movements while giving a gentle gesture to the spatial behaviours. In contrast, the intersection of stairs at the entrance is a rushing tempo that mimics the streets' flow.

The entirety of House M is an illuminating object. Natural light finds its way through rectangular skylights, bringing the warmth of sun inside the abode. The generous height of the kitchen amplifies the saintly glow, giving it a desirable atmosphere to be inhabited. In such moment, the human scale is distorted and the architecture becomes significant.

Jun Igarashi experimented with House M in the way that spatial design does not have to conform to human's ordinary activities. The project becomes a guide to movement yet still considers the humanitarian factor of living and household activities. The juggle of form and function brings a playful and peaceful result where ideas are distilled to a minimalist form.

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