Whenever we hear that Shigeru Ban Architects has a new project, we prick up our ears. This time round, they have created a villa in Japan that rises above its neighbors like a crescent moon.
Crescent House lies on the slope of a hill in south Hakone in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The villa gets its name from its shape, in plan it is an arc pointing downhill. The house sits on pilotis, raising it slightly above the landscape and making it look like a moon rising over the hill. Raising it also allowed for the form to be uncompromised whist minimizing impact on the site. The house is accessed via a glass-enclosed staircase situated below the house and opening up directly onto the open plan living area. The single floor structure is an extruded “C” in cross-section, with the back of the C up against the hill, and the entire open end glazed. This ensures that the sweeping vistas of Mount Fuji to the north are visible from almost anywhere within the house, whilst keeping the neighbors out of the picture. In a feat of engineering, this all-important façade is completely free of columns so there are no disruptions of the view. The open plan living and dining area is sandwiched between two bedrooms on either side of the house. A terrace runs along the entire front length and leaves two semi-enclosed outdoor areas at the extremities next to the bedrooms.
The sublimely proportioned shape of Crescent House is not only beautiful, but it speaks to the site and the functions of the house. Together with its clever engineering, it’s clear why Ban garners the respect he does.