Japan is an incredibly mountainous country, in fact 72% of all the land in Japan is mountain! Although this has made the Japanese archepegio truly beautiful to behold it does bring up some difficulties for human habitation. Japanese settlements traditionally grew around natural resources, such as rivers and the sea. This was fine until the population of Japan began to grow and new living quarters and space for industry was needed. Japan has the city with the highest population density in the world, Tokyo, and a large population outside of that, even though it is in decline. Along with earthquakes and fire Japanese house architects have had to be quite ingenious when designing new houses. One such new design is produced by Keita Nagata of Keita Nagata Architectural Elements; Miyawaki Gurindo complex.
This complex is located in Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa prefecture at the roof of Mineyama mountain. Usually, houses in Japan are either built on existing flat ground, such as around rivers or on plains. When flat ground is not easily found sometimes areas are flattened with the intention of building on them. However, Keita Nagata did not do either of these things when he designed this new complex. In this ingenious design, the homes themselves are built directly into the side of the mountain.
From concept diagrams of the design of these apartments, it seems that there are a few reasons for building this project. It can be seen that by dividing a regular high rise up and placing it in the ground it would not block the view of nearby houses. This would mean a more beautiful town and look for the area. Also, this means less destruction of nature, trees, grass and plants can be placed on the roofs of the new apartments minimising the impact of man over nature. Other ways that this design respect nature is by reducing heating and cooling costs, and by using solar power.
Just like any regular apartment building this complex has a number of different room types and even a ‘penthouse’. There are five different room types in the complex, from 1 bedroom apartments for single people or couples, up to apartments for entire familiar with gardens and multiple rooms for living space. The largest ‘penthouse’ apartment is a maisonette and is placed over two floors. Each apartment, except the bottom one, has a garden which is actually the roof of the apartment below! This complex really shows off the genius of the designer and the ingenuity that Japanese architecture shows.