The Skyward House was envisioned by AC-AA Architects, a Japanese studio known to merge vernacular elements with modern functionality. A surreal green landscape surrounds the 4,402-square-foot (409-square-meter) hillside home.

“The house needed to provide a sense of protection since it would be the client’s final home,” the architect said. “It also needed to be supple to blend with the surrounding natural environment. Standing in this rich land, I wanted the house to have a sturdy and fragile presence at the same time.”

Windows open up the interiors in all four directions while ensuring privacy from passers-by. This is possible thanks to the high vantage point of the living quarters. Architects elevated them in order to avoid the view from the relatively busy street. Step inside and you’re greeted by a fascinating mix of open and closed spaces.

“Specifically speaking, the soto-no-ma (exterior room) – intended for sitting – has a flat, low ceiling which extends the space horizontally toward the surrounding nature,” the architect added. “The Naka-no-ma (interior room), on the other hand, has a ceiling following the roof’s pyramid shape and is filled with natural light from the top. The diffused light creates different nuances of shadows on the ceiling and draws the space vertically toward the sky.” Photography by Hiroshi Ueda.