In Munakata, a city in the southern Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan, Matsuyama Architect and Associates has built an unusual home on a steep parcel of land. Designed for a family of four, the open plan home is split across levels that mimic the lay of the land.

The land changes in height by four meters from one side of the site to the other; a problem resolved by the architects through clever design rather than by leveling the plot. “We intended to resolve these architectural issues by turning the difficulties into a positive character of this project”, they explained in a statement about the project. The building they devised mimics the topography of the site, the pitched roof of the home stands higher at one end than at the other. Inside, the building has been structured over five tiered levels, these are open plan and their arrangement offers a sense of height and space. Each floor has a specific function, and though visually separate they are physically connected by both sight and sound. As the client requested, “These level differences can create space that contains both gentle separation and togetherness”.