Cell Space Architects

House with moss garden

To enter into and be in relationship with all things in the forest

The area around the proposed site is an old villa area in Karuizawa where moss gardens have been carefully maintained for a long time.
Broad-leaved trees such as Quercus crispula and Quercus crispula spread their branches and become a canopy at the top of the garden,
under the sunlight filtering through the trees, by the continued addition of human hands, such as raking fallen leaves and meticulous weeding,
Under the sunlight through the trees, the moss is layered and a clean and soft carpet of nature is spun out.

The 50-70 cm high banks of asama stones piled up beside the road and boundary are covered with moss, which, when standing on the site, removes the road from view and gives the impression that the moss garden is connected to the boundary with the neighboring property and beyond the road. On the other hand, along the site boundary, evergreen coniferous trees such as fir and yew, and deciduous trees such as dodan azalea and yamatsutsuji are planted, creating a buffer zone where the trees control the line of sight as the seasons change.
These delicate boundaries are created and extinguished by the plants,
The moss garden is a space like a living room in nature.
The fragrance of the plants, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, and birds chirping in the treetops all help to create a sense of oneness with the entire forest.

In order to minimize the impact of the human presence in the dense environment created by the plants, the building is shaped like a mushroom with a small footprint. The exterior of the building is a shimmering gray shadow, sunken among the plants, and the design was developed with the client in mind, sharing the value of creating a place where people can commune with nature and experience being with it.

 The specific shape of the building is determined by its correspondence with the plants. By observing the way the roots and branches of the trees nearby grow, and by keeping a separation distance so as not to affect the existing trees, a hexagonal plan was created. In order to balance the trees and soften the sense of volume seen from the outside, the floor and roof were divided into three sections to create a difference in level. By doing so, the interior is covered by a gently curved ceiling that gives a sense of organic expanse, even though each is an independent corner. It has become a place to be with the moss garden.


  • Location


  • Type


  • Structure

    Steel frame and reinforced concrete,2 stories

  • Site Area


  • Construction Period

    Completed in October 2022