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The Clearwater

The Clearwater

Architect
Seshimos Architects

Peter Hahn Associates
Location
Niseko, Japan
Project Year
2017
Category
Private Houses
Aaron Jamieson

The Clearwater by Seshimo Architects+ Peter Hahn Associates

Seshimos Architects as Architects

This vacation home on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido sits on a bluff with a view of Mt. Yotei (also called Ezo Fuji for its resemblance to Mt. Fuji), overlooking a river that meanders slowly along the base of the mountain. The structure cantilevers out over the bluff as if to float amidst the surrounding nature. Its name, The Clearwater, is derived from the pure snowmelt from Mt. Yotei that flows in the river below.


Three rectangular forms support one another in alternating layers, which are clearly organized in the following manner: The lowest level containing a “wellness area,” the middle level (the ground floor) the public domain of the house, and the uppermost level (the second floor) private bedrooms. There are two master bedrooms, each with its own view of either Mt. Yotei or Mt. Annupuri.


Upon approach, the façade seems closed. It offers privacy from the street and neighboring properties, but also offers an element of surprise as the building completely opens to the landscape on the other side: taking in panoramic views of Niseko area.


The grand staircase provides views of the forest at different levels as the guests move between the floors, and is designed to serve as a symbolic, sculptural element. The minimalist exterior contrasts with the abundant use of natural wood and stone interior finishes, which together with the generously dimensioned furniture provide maximum comfort inside.


Altogether, the building provides an environment that is simultaneously a luxurious celebration of the client’s many accomplishments, and a warm, casual, cabin-like space for both physical and mental relaxation with family and friends.


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