Shutter House for a Photographer, Shigeru Ban

            This site is three times as long as it is wide, which is common in highly dense, urban Japan.  Obeying client wishes of “living with nature,” Shigeru Ban blends house and garden.  Ban borrows from traditional Kyoto-style machiya or town house, which is essentially a string of rooms interspersed with a garden or two.  Limited by the site Ban establishes a checkered grid, allowing gardens to divide each space.  There are three interior gardens and a back garden. These gardens are enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass and aluminum shutters that can be entirely stacked and stowed above the ceiling when weather permits, using the same technology as airplane hangars and garage doors. 
Ban incorporates his version of the Japanese “Universal Floor” concept.  In traditional Japanese homes sliding screen panels temporarily divide the space, and the common area is bound by the eaves.  In Ban’s version the shutters can open entirely to unify the spaces. 
The rooms’ are organized from public to progressively private.  Upon entry the first courtyard poses a transition between home and office, stairs lead down to the basement office and studio or up to the double height living room.  The living room is followed by the dining room, then kitchen, and finally the master bedroom, surrounded by three gardens.  The kids’ bedrooms are above the master and are also encompassed by a green, airy atmosphere.

         The walls within the house are glass to allow light and views to penetrate.  Even the bathroom has a picture, garden window.  The exterior walls require more privacy, and are made of opaque cement board and a checkered grid of ivy.  These five vertical garden walls provide “translucency in a different way,” says Ban.  The front and rear exterior walls are primarily glass for maximum light penetration, yet screened for maximum privacy. 



  1. It would be better if we can see some samples of your exterior wood shutters. I have been looking for one to suit the color of my house, maybe I could find the one suited for it with you.

  2. Hi, do you have the plants of the house too??