The DOMA House Modernizes a Traditional Japanese Element

The DOMA House Modernizes a Traditional Japanese Element

KiKi ARCHi and TAKiBI joined forces to design the DOMA House in Kamakura, Japan. The home offers a modern spin on the “doma,” a traditional Japanese architectural design element which refers to the transitional space at the entrance of a Japanese home that joins the outside with the interior on different levels. In contemporary times, the “doma” has evolved to become an entry porch, which the architects expanded upon and extended the idea for the DOMA House.

During the pandemic, the homeowner made the choice to leave the city behind and move his family to Kamakura, just an hour outside of Tokyo, to let his kids be kids. The home is situated between two streets with the sea nearby. When planning, the architects were inspired to design an “interacting house” that would allow the home to connect with the streets neighborhood, and nature. The side of the house that faces the sea opens up for the breezes and can remain open for a sense of continuous flow.

exterior of modern gray house in Japan

The exterior is clad in grey cement boards which have a stone-like, textured finish, while the interior features white walls and wood floors and design elements.

exterior of modern gray house in Japan with row of red blooming plants in front

Passageway alongside modern Japanese house

Passageway alongside modern Japanese house with children playing

Designed for a modern family, the first floor operates as an open space for activities, with the courtyard, living room, dining room, and kitchen. In addition to being open for the ocean air, it allows the children to come and go as they play. A partially covered passageway connects the two streets and provides an outdoor space for the kids to interact with other neighborhood children.

exterior corner of modern Japanese house with square opening to interior

A corner of the living room opens up with sliding glass doors making the interior feel larger.

interior of modern Japanese home with pathway to back kitchen

interior of modern Japanese home looking through doorway to living room with white open stairs

The home’s main structure was built in just two days with experienced craftsman using both a concrete foundation and a traditional Japanese wooden structure where all the materials were numbered to make things go faster.

interior of modern Japanese home looking through doorway to living room with white open stairs

interior of modern Japanese house with double height living room and white open stairs

interior of modern Japanese house with views through kitchen to living area

interior of modern Japanese home with double height living room with staircase

In the home’s center, the ceiling becomes double height with an open staircase that connects to open slat walkways on the second floor. The void allows more natural light and ventilation throughout the interior.

interior of modern Japanese home with double height living room with staircase

The living room, which is a step down from the rest of the floor, is covered with a light cork flooring.

interior of modern Japanese home with double height living room with staircase

interior of modern Japanese home with double height living room with staircase

interior of modern Japanese home with double height living room with staircase

second floor of modern japanese home interior with bridge walkways

second floor of modern japanese home interior with bridge walkways

second floor of modern japanese home interior with bridge walkways

exterior of modern Japanese home at dusk

exterior of modern Japanese home at dusk

side by side of two Japanese architects Yoshihiko Seki and Saika Akiyoshi

KiKi ARCHi founders Yoshihiko Seki and Saika Akiyoshi

Photos by Koji Fujii.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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