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Modern-old Japan mud house: smart & bioclimatic on a budget

To bring natural homes into the 21 Century, architect Tono Mirai designed “Future House”: a home that blends traditional earth building and Japanese joinery techniques with modern design. Located in Miura, Kanagawa (about an hour and a half south of Tokyo), this fusion home was built for a businessman and his wife and 3 children.

The client wanted a healthy and natural home as an escape from his daily commute to Tokyo, but wanted something modern. Mirai designed a home oriented to the south so that its earthen floors and walls (of traditional Japanese mud plaster) can act as heat sinks for the winter sun. He built vents into the outer walls to naturally control the flow of air.

The extensive living roof also acts as an insulator. Mirai calls it a “very natural way” to insulate, noting that the temperature difference between outside and inside the roof can be more than 10 degrees.

With all the passive solar and natural venting, the home doesn’t need AC or heating (beyond a small wood stove) and it delivers a natural air quality and “peacefulness” requested by the client.