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A visit to Inverted House

inverted house

A visit to Inverted House

PhD student Sareh Saeidi visits the prizewinning AHO project Inverted House to experience its thermal comfort.

Inverted House, designed by a group of AHO staff and students, won the 5th LIXIL International University Architectural Competition 2015. The competition theme was to design a “House for Enjoying the Harsh Cold” in Hokkaido, Japan. The house was opened in June last year.

The house accommodates various climatically sheltered spaces, created through different roof slopes and floor levels. The composition provides inhabitable in-between conditions between the interior and exterior. These living spaces challenge the inhabitants’ extents of comfort and adaptation, and the level of their forgiveness towards the undesired thermal conditions.

PhD student at AHO Sareh Saeidi visited Inverted House in April to use it as a case study for her research project entitled “Inhabiting Architectural Envelopes”. The studies aim at exploring the house’s radical approach towards pushing the limits of patterns of inhabitation in correspondence to thermal comfort.

“In my case study, I’ve applied a mixed method mode of inquiry consisting of both quantitative and qualitative studies. These include installation and use of measure stations to collect climatic data on the house’s microclimate, and the making of a record of my subjective experience of the house’s thermal comfort”, she said.

Although a week before her visit, locals reported that the temperature at the site reached -16 Cº during the night, Saedi has experienced much warmer days at Mêmu, reaching up to +12 at noon. The night weather conditions were quite different with high humidity and the temperature falling to -6 at its lowest during her stay.

“The ensemble of various spaces in the house makes it a unique experience. One of the most significant spaces of the house that creates its strong Japanese character is the outside room with its view towards the horizon and the meditative sound coming from the fireplace. Beside all, sleeping on the house’s concrete outdoor bed and waking up by sun ray touching my face, was a wonderful experience,” said Saeidi.