The House of maple Leaves is a beautiful villa in Karuizawa, Japan, I a mountain resort. It was a project by Edward Suzuki Associates. The villa features an overall wooden structure complemented by steel peripheral balconies. It’s a sustainable building with a design adapted from passive energy principle applied in Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto.
Everything except for the radiant hot water heating system is sustainable. The water heating system is only artificially operated one and it’s embedded in the floor. Because of the location, there were some requirements and guidelines that required a roof slope of 1:5 minimum, eave length of 500 mm minimum and a limited selection of exterior coloring. Apart from that, everything else was for the client and architect to choose.
The list of passive energy systems used for this project is very long. It includes things like exterior insulation with ) air circulation paths in between exterior and interior finishes, cross ventilation under the ground floor that provides protection against humidity, a more general cross ventilation system ,a complete fenestration on the south with airtight, high-insulation composite sash with double-pane glass that blocks the hot summer sun but allows the winter sun to get through, the use of fluorescent and LED lights and reflective silver roofing used for insulation and temperature control.
Other similar elements include a double-floor living space, a fireplace in the living room that burns trash, ceiling fans, the use of highly insulating stucco and laminated bamboo for the floors. Every little detail was taken into consideration when designing this house and the results were as expected.