A House Awaiting Death

by | 19. Jul 2012

Project | Residential

Photo © Koichi Torimura


Sketch courtesy EASTERN design office

“A house awaiting death,” the client said to us.

“I will die in 15 years.  It will be a house awaiting that death.  The building is fine as long as it lasts 15 years.  Something small would be good.”

“I have found the place.” A patch of land on a peninsula facing East.  “I’m glad the land faces East.  I hate the sunset.”


Photo © Koichi Torimura

“When I die it won’t be sunset, it will be sunrise.  When the final moment comes, I will face the sea and depart on a ship flashing towards death.  It’ll be a time revealed after death.”

He wants to anchor his life before he sails away from the sea coast flashing towards an unknown shore.  This is the house we are going to design.

How do we interpret his message?

We are not only designing a house, but are creating the port from which his liberated mind will depart across the ocean. This is what our work must encompass.

Therefore, this house sees waves.  We want to make you think that the waves part of the interior of the house.  It is not simply a house open to the sea.  We were not satisfied to design a house with a sea view just because the seacoast is a mere 150 meters away.  The sea must be incorporated into the open space of the house.


Photo © Koichi Torimura

This form draws in waves. This window captures waves.  In this house.  Waves … are never the same throughout the day….  Opening the doors of this house we are surprised that “Ah, this type of wave appears today.”  We designed it this way to appreciate the appearance of waves


Photo © Koichi Torimura



Sketch courtesy EASTERN design office


Sketch courtesy EASTERN design office


Sketch courtesy EASTERN design office

How does one see a wave?

What is the ocean? It is a wave. “When the final moment comes, I will face the rising sun and depart on a ship flashing towards death.  At that moment the imaginary sun is not one.  There are many suns.  In the imaginary world he becomes a butterfly. The blue wings of a butterfly are the waves of a blue ocean.  Looking up from the sea floor there is a sparkling ocean.  These images are shaped into the form which is fit for a man who lives between the sea and a single room.

Are we insane, or is the client mad? Is this reality? Is it a dream?

Three houses by EASTERN design office. The poetic descriptions are selected excerpts from the architects Anna Nakamura and Taiyo Jinno texts.

Three Houses:
Keyhole House

A House Awaiting Death
Mountain/Opening House


CITY Ise, Mie Prefecture