Deep Overhangs: 8 Japanese Homes With Elegant Extended Eaves

Overhangs result in new social possibilities, where life may unfold below.

Jennifer Geleff Jennifer Geleff

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“Nokishita” translates to the overhang of a Japanese roof. Facilitating new arenas for interaction between residents and visitors, the covered areas sustained by said overhangs result in new transactional possibilities, where life may unfold below. With outward-extending articulated eaves representing a traditional element in Japanese architecture, such features are commonly found throughout residential design. All at once, the homes showcased in this collection display contemporary beauty while reflecting an ongoing commitment to tradition.

Beyond facilitating spectacular places for social interaction, deep overhangs result in a transitional boundary, and thus help smooth the connection between indoor and outdoor space. Such roofing structures block harsh summer sun and take warmly to winter sunlight, making these homes increasingly habitable and comfortable all year round. Reflecting the strength and subtly of the Japanese building aesthetic, each home is designed to maintain the elegance of the dwelling itself, while also deepening the vernacular of the surrounding townscape for decades to come.

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House in Wakayama by spray, Wakayama, Japan

House in Wakayama was designed to host two families, consisting of four generations and eight people in total. The design features a large gabled roof made from titanium-zinc, which covers the entire house. With the eaves forming verandas, the house not only feels more expansive than it is, buts also creates a homey and sheltered atmosphere for the many intersecting lives based at this site.

House in Yokawa by Mosaic Design, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

Situated in a peaceful rural area, the elderly clients sought to live in a home that was spacious and calm. In addition they hoped to recall their past travels through stylistic diversity. Though each room has different dimensions, elements and roofing structures, the whole building forms a continuous doughnut-shaped space. In the central courtyard, eaves gather and overlap, creating extraordinary contour and shading.

House with Dormer Window by Hiroki Tominaga Atelier, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

For this project, the architects sought to build a home that would add to the neighbourhood’s vernacular and maintain enduring appeal. They decided to create a street-facing roof, and extend the eaves as long as possible toward the street. Combining large eaves with a traditional dormer window, this design merges elements that are famous in both the Japanese and European realms.

Eaves Around House by Masahiro Miyake (y+M design office), Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Built for a family of four, a married couple and their children, Eaves Around House is formed through an arrangement of interlocking, low-rise units, which create a central area for congregation. The overlapping eaves cut strong sunshine in the summer and spread warmth to interior rooms in the winter. Through clearance gaps between eaves, residents may get a glimpse of Mt. Daimonji nearby.

KOYA no SUMIKA by mA-style architects, Shizuoka-shi, Japan

An extension plan for a young couple’s main residence, the clients sought new living spaces that would ensure comfortable and quiet experiences. Attached to the main house through a corridor, the new structure was completed with a V-beam roof truss that is composed of structural plywood on both sides. With a stunning roof design that extends site lines both vertically and horizontally, the architects created a rich canvas upon which residents’ imaginations may flourish.

House in Fukutiyama by Ohno Atelier, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Envisioned as a small house for life after retirement, this design aims to immediately lighten one’s mood and invoke relaxation. Deep eaves create shade and an area for refuge in the summer, while also allowing a cool breeze to rush through. Composed of familiar materials and shapes, the final design embodies a pleasant commitment to simplicity and functionality.

Under Four Roofs by Atelier Haretoke, Kyoto, Japan

Inspired the work of Japanese painter Kaii Higashiyama, the goal was to create a building that resembled both a single structure and a whole townscape through the use of several roofs. Under the floating “four roofs,” living spaces of various sizes are lined up in echelon form. Throughout the entire house, residents can feel the essence of Kyoto: The gable roof, deep eaves, slanted axis, local materials and handcrafted outer wall.

Suehiro house by ALTS DESIGN OFFICE, Uchimaru, Japan

For this project, the architects sought to create a simple composition that would be open and permeable, while also providing family members with individual privacy. To blend with its surroundings, they chose to design a low-rise unit with large eaves, and a communal atrium at the center of the house. In its final form, Suehiro house is a space where family connection may grow.

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