Atsumasa Tamura Design Office
Wakayama, Japan | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Sohei Terui

Koumori-An 1945-2015

Atsumasa Tamura Design Office as Architects

【Value in Keeping】

The 70-years old house was inherited from Owner’s aunt, who bought the original structure to teach Tea Ceremony. A new living quarter was added later to complete this wooden single-story building. It had been left as storage for years and was too damaged, yet Owner chose to keep the old characters, despite cost & time, than to build a new. Inspired by his wish, the renovation began not just to restore but rather to create a space where the old section merges into the new in a harmonious way. The “Koumori-An” house offers the concept of “Value in Keeping” which no new house can imitate.


【Style of the House】

The seventy-years old building was not at all an iconic structure but just an ordinary house with Kirizuma roof. Yet the style of the house should not be changed drastically as it was a part of the landscape and its memory. It is valuable not because it is aged, but because it has been there shaping the local scenery as a part of town.

What must be changed was not the style of the house – but the style to live in. 


【5 Shaku 7 Sun (Traditional Metrics)】

How to incorporate the history of 70 years into the modern life style, how can it be remodeled into a new living space? If New Section had been renovated to suit the modern living style, the inside measurement would have become too different from Old Section which was built in the traditional Japanese metrics. Naturally the life style on Tatami differs from the contemporary style with chairs. If two set of metrics had been introduced in adjoining space, Old Section would have been recognized as simply out-of-date and there would have been no harmony.

Therefore the traditional Japanese metrics, “5 Shaku 7 Sun”, was applied to New Section. With the same inside measurement, Old and New are connected in a harmonious way, and by keeping the proportion, the design of New Section was free from the restriction of the traditional Japanese Style.


【Terrace of Space】

An open and spacious terrace was arranged in the middle of the house complex, as the intersection of Old and New Sections, and inside and outside space. The terrace is accessible from New Section, Corridor and Old Section, implying that both new and old parts are in unison. Also the terrace roof is extended to the Living room, as if to show the terrace, Corridor and Dining area are one connected room.

The old space is not there to make a contrast to the new, but to produce the harmony using the same metrics. By doing so, the design is able to expand further. Newly renovated space has become a place where the history of 70 years can be felt and enjoyed, establishing the concept of “Value in Keeping”.


【Covered in Snow】

On the day the house was completed, a rare snow fell in Wakayama. The traditional Japanese styled garden with white camellia blossoms, dry landscape, maple and moth, was all in white. Light, wind, rain, snow – all natural aspects can be felt in the house. Such a feeling is essential to enjoy the richness in Life.

Project Credits
Product Spec Sheet

Water Faucet Parts Fonte Trading
Air Conditioning, Kitchen FacilitiesPanasonic Corporation
Product Spec Sheet
Water Faucet Parts 
Air Conditioning, Kitchen Facilities
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