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Yoshimura House

Ștefan Jurcă & Hlib Novosolov

The Yoshimura House is a self-sufficient, off-grid home located near Sapporo, Hokkaido. Hokkaido has a rather challenging climate due to strong temperature fluctuations and high precipitation rates. The area is mountainous, making construction more complicated and costly.
The dwelling embraces a minimalist, environmentally conscious philosophy within its 37 m² footprint, utilizing a compact design and prefabricated modules, enabling easy transportation and construction with minimal machinery required.
The building has a hemispherical shape, minimizing its surface-to-volume ratio and, therefore, maximizing its energy efficiency. The building’s interior is strategically divided into two distinct layers, the “inner circle” and the “outer circle”, prioritizing thermal demands and privacy.
The house’s outer shell consists of a distinct Yoshimura origami pattern, offering structural integrity, strong wind resistance, and due to watertight design and polycarbonate panels, a degree of thermal insulation. It can be unfolded along a circular railtrack, transforming the outer circle into an open terrace. When the outer shell is closed, the entire outer circle becomes a thermal buffer to a more insulated and heated inner circle.
The inner circle encompasses the more private spaces such as the sleeping area, which is located above the bathroom and is in direct contact with the heater, occupying the highest position within the house, thus maintaining the warmest temperature in the house.
In the northern half of the outer circle lies the kitchen for two people, as well as a foyer and wardrobes. The south half of the house consists of an all-season working area situated in the inner circle, as well as the living area in the outer circle. In the warmer months, these can be merged, creating a bigger, versatile living space.
The house's energy concept is based on a "sunhouse" scheme, which involves collecting rainwater from the roof and directing it into a buffer storage. The water is then utilized for various household appliances and heated using solar collectors or a compact water heater. Once heated, the water is circulated through a convector to warm the inner circle and is also used for hot water consumption, maximizing efficiency. A photovoltaic panel and a battery provide a consistent, eco-friendly energy power source for household devices.
In conclusion, the Yoshimura House is an innovative and sustainable architectural project that prioritizes energy efficiency, environmental consciousness, and functional design. Its compact footprint, prefabricated modules, and thoughtful interior zoning provide a functional living space that minimizes external reliance. By efficiently managing available resources, this house offers an entirely self-sufficient living experience without compromising on modern amenities.

A walkable web-3D model of the Yoshimura house is available at:

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