Hayama Huts



Miuragun Kanagawa

A villa set on a parcel of 1,000 m2, accessible along a private drive and a three-minute walk from Isshiki beach. The Hayama area was a fishing village up until the Edo Period, and then experienced resort construction for the upper class in the Meiji Era, including a villa for the Emperor, as well as homes for the Imperial lineage and renowned people. Prime Minister Taro Katsura’s seaside compound Chounkaku was built here, and the villa’s site was part of Katsura’s land, which was gradually subdivided into lots. Unfortunately, the site of the villa languished for a long time, because the private drive provided insufficient street-front access for development as a residential lot.


The villa’s client, who already owned a residence on the other side of the private drive, acquired the land and successfully extended the necessary frontage from a portion of the private drive already owned. This arrangement allowed construction on the long-vacant parcel.


Mountains rising up behind and Route No. 207 (prefectural roadway) threading the coastline embrace the immediate neighbourhood. Unlike the oceanfront, relatively small houses line narrow lanes of the hillside and create a dense community for a resort area. The houses often stand close to property boundaries. The hill runs north, up towards the mountains; therefore, adjacent lots are stepped down from north to south. Houses towards the south at lower elevations are outside of the ordinary view, but still plainly visible from above.


During the early design phase, one idea explored using open space for a setback to create distance from adjacent houses. The client then expressed a desire for a swimming pool, for which options to secure privacy around a central deck were considered by arranging an L-shaped volume along the north and east sides of the property exposed to direct lines of sight from neighbouring houses. Since placement of one extended volume would be imposing on these neighbours, the concept progressed to a layout of several separate volumes of smaller stature surrounding a courtyard with the swimming pool.


The resulting complex encompasses five buildings: Dining volume, Living volume, Bedroom volume, Bathroom & Garage volume, and Storage volume. Neither the Bathroom volume nor Garage and Storage volume have any windows facing the private drive and therefore look like two simple huts. A gap between the two huts leads to the courtyard.


A cozy entrance is located between the Bathroom & Garage volume and Dining volume and opposite the northside service entrance, which can be reached from the streetside parking. The vanity and changing room in the Bathroom & Garage volume is immediately accessible from the entrance, so that arriving guests can quickly change into poolside attire. A large bathtub and sauna are housed further inside with immediate access between the bathroom and swimming pool.


The Dining volume broadly faces the courtyard and merges with the courtyard, pool and deck to create one large space, when the sliding doors are drawn fully open. The pergola with awning runs across the entire dining front to provide poolside shade and can control the amount of natural light brought indoors.


The Dining volume and the Living volume have separate roofs, but maintain continuous floor space. Skylights are arranged between the two volumes, and the courtyard pergola’s louvers are contiguous with the indoor louvers.


The Living volume, whose higher roof provides greater headroom, accommodates the leveled grade of the site with its floor rising 40 centimetres higher than the floor of the Dining volume. The building heights generally align with interior functionality, but were set more in the context of neighbouring residences. Although the one-story house to the north is sufficiently set back from the property boundary, the Dining volume has a single-pitched roof that hangs low towards the property boundary to secure courtyard privacy and to avoid blocking the view too much from the north. The three-story house to the northeast, however, stands close to the property boundary, because the villa’s site was previously owned by the same family. The elevation of the villa’s site varies by 2 metres from the private drive to the northeast corner, which shares the same ground level as the northeastern neighbour’s house. The neighbour’s property uphill to the north has 1.2 metres in elevation difference. Consequently, the Living volume that fronts the northeast corner is excavated for an interior floor level 1.6 metres below ground relative to the neighbouring property boundary, and its roof eaves to the east are held to 80 centimetres high off the ground to avoid impairing vistas enjoyed by the neighbour. The single-pitched roof raises the eaves to the west 4.8 metres off the ground to retain both courtyard privacy and ocean views from the neighbouring home.


The neighbouring villa to the east has its own ocean view to the south. Consequently, the Bedroom volume planted at the southeast of the site is two stories high for mutual privacy. Since the owner lives in the villa across the private drive, Hayama Huts envisions guest lodging. The Bedroom volume comprises two guest bedrooms and a bath on the ground floor and a common large bedroom upstairs for a group coming to stay. The hallway for guest bedrooms on the ground floor places windows near the feet to avoid lines of sight with the neighbours. The bathroom at the end has a window to enjoy the garden vista to the south.


A similar corridor to the entrance approach runs between the gap of the Bedroom volume and the Living volume with direct access from the courtyard to the Bedroom volume. All areas except for the Bedroom volume and the Living volume are “shoes on” areas, with the removal of outdoor shoes expected at the step between the Dining volume and the Living volume and at this gap into the Bedroom volume.


In celebrating the Russo-Japanese War victory over a century ago, this hillside district was planted with many camphor trees. Three trees stand on the villa’s site and create pleasant shading for the poolside. Since the courtyard camphor is near the Bedroom volume, its roof pitches down towards the courtyard to aid the tree’s growth. For the common bedroom upstairs, the window facing the adjacent property is set high to avoid mutual lines of sight, while the eaves and windows on the courtyard-side hang lower. The courtyard camphor is visible while sitting inside. The south window takes in the ocean view beyond Isshiki beach.


The neighbouring southside property has an elevation difference of 2 metres and only the rooftop of the house can be seen. The courtyard consequently opens southward with a built-in bench running along the edge of the deck. The east side of the Bedroom volume has built-in steps to sit and enjoy the shade of the camphor tree. The bathroom’s sliding door on the west side of the Bathroom & Garage volume faces the courtyard for direct access from the sauna to the pool. An outside shower is stationed in front of the Storage volume. The north side of the courtyard has space for an outdoor dining table under the pergola for dining outside.


The gaps between the volumes comprise corridors leading to the periphery from the courtyard and provide passages for light and breezes. The connector role between volumes belongs to the pergola with galvanized steel louvers. The pergola covers the southside decking of the Dining volume to buffer the environment, and fits between the buildings as shading for the skylights.


The approach facing the private drive reuses the oya tuff stone from the property’s original stone fence. A low retaining wall is built to accommodate the level difference between the street and parking. The space finished with porous concrete for better drainage is primarily for guest parking and handling. Plantings were made along the building and where the level varied at the Bathroom & Garage volume. The large camphor tree in front provides gentle shade across the entire approach.


Exterior walls of the buildings employ kebony wood, made from pine and other softwood impregnated with furfuryl alcohol created from corncobs and strained sugarcane and hardened through curing (heat-induced polymerization). The hardened lumber becomes resistant to rot and requires no repainting for maintenance-free durability. The initial dark-brown color has already turned light brown on the bedroom volume that was built first, and is expected to ultimately settle to a silver-grey hue.


The distributed volumes are structurally independent.  The Dining volume and Living volume are the exception with an integrated, steel-framed structure that provides a continual expanse at floor level.


The client’s original idea was to build a simple hut, but the scale of the villa increased over the design phase as functionality increased. Nonetheless, the complex of small buildings harmonizes like a village to blend with the vista of Isshiki’s seaside landscape.


  • Site:Miura-gun, Kanagawa
  • Programme:Residential
  • Completion:2022.6
  • Structure:Delta Structural Consultants
  • Construction:Double Box
  • Facilities:Comodo Facility Planning
  • Site and Landscaping:Yard Landscape 
  • Photo:Shigeo Ogawa
  • Site area:1,047.27m2
  • Building area:254.21m2
  • Total floor area:309.24m2






House Meguro