Iriomote Island, the second-largest of the Okinawan Islands of Japan, is a place of untouched beauty and a land that embraces the blessings of nature. For Shoko Murakji, architect and founder of Harunatsu-Arch, the natural elements present a challenge that must be welcomed as well as confronted. Villa921 is the result of these fruits of labor, and is a simple, single-story residence for a young family native to Iriomote Island. Many features of the house share a duality in purpose and aesthetics. The wide eaves of the house protect against the high sun, which shines five times stronger on Iriomote than on the main island, and the gabled roof allows rainwater to cascade and wash over the accumulation of salt crystals from the briny ocean air. The house sits snugly on a small hill, which curves away from the house’s veranda so to counteract any rise of water level during typhoon season. Japanese wooden doors, amado, and a wind protection net offer flexibility in house’s façade, and can left open for cross-ventilation and a breathtaking view of the surrounding farmlands as well as closed for a rainy day. The house is also a celebration of the small pleasures in life through a minimalistic interior with polished wooden flooring, which provides a warm contrast to the sturdy concrete exterior.

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Kimberly

Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.

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