Japan inspired

Issue 22 Words: Sarah Robertson Photography: Angela Keoghan
Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Two rectangular wings make up this virtually airtight New Zealand house. The house is raised 700mm above the ground with 20 square metres of storage space under the deck. Owners Nathan and Yuki coppice on-site trees for firewood.
  • A tatami mat area sits at the end of the open plan living, kitchen and dining room. The grass tatami mats help control moisture levels in the dining area and hide inbuilt sunken storage boxes beneath.
  • Storage space under the floor
  • Inbuilt sunken storage boxes beneath the tatami mat area. This area also serves as a dining area.

  • Locally harvested and recycled timbers were used for the flooring while the ceiling is clad with FSC certified Ecoply. Low VOC finishes are used throughout.

A New Zealand home inspired by Japanese architecture and passive design principles seeks to cross cultural borders.

Fusing their New Zealand and Japanese heritage with their commitment to sustainable living, New Zealand designer Nathan Edmondston and his wife Yuki Fukuda are finally living in a home that reflects who they are.

“Japanese traditional architecture has had an influence in New Zealand house design for over half a century,” explains Nathan. “Our challenge was to create a building that subtly referenced these traditional ideas whilst maintaining an understanding of its New Zealand context.”

The couple spent three weeks researching architecture and garden design in Japan. Nathan and his colleagues at MOAA Architects then set to work integrating Japanese influences into the house’s design. The result is a neat three-bedroom home that replicates traditional Japanese timber and tatami mat homes.

“It’s amazing to be able to live in a house with a Japanese touch while living in New Zealand,” says Yuki.

The house is comprised of two parallel rectangular wings. An open plan kitchen, living and tatami-mat dining area, an entry and toilet make up the first wing while in the second there are three bedrooms and a bathroom. A large northeast facing deck extends the main living and dining wing out into the garden. A small study – a bathroom and laundry tucked inbehind – connects the two wings.

With the tatami mats down, the raised dining (or sleeping) area is distinctly Japanese, albeit with the hidden practical twist of 10 square metres of storage space beneath. The Japanese use space wisely, Nathan says, adding that although their house is a modest 133 square metres it would be considered luxurious in Japan.

Hidden storage is built into other parts of the house, too. Under the deck there is 20 square metres of storage space for wood, Nathan and Yuki’s main source of fuel.


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Cover of Issue 22
You can read more about Japan inspired in Issue 22 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Design: MOAA Architects

Builders: John S MacDonald Builders (House), J A Smith – Total Decking (Northeast deck)

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