Four sections of the house to show the changing of use and function through each season


Hand-built model to show the Yukimuro,
housing the collection of snow during the harsh Hokkaido winter

LIXIL International University Architectural Competition Entry, 2014
with Tan Wen Jun, Tan Hwee Ting & David Octavianus 
Led by Prof. Tsuto Sakamoto

GRID GARDENS tells a story of passing time, each season marked with a change in the way the architecture can be approached, and the relationship between production and consumption.

Located in Memu Meadows in Hokkaido, with its long, unrelenting winters but beautiful, prolific summers, the design takes advantage of the unique benefits of the location without ignoring the drawbacks of the site.

A grid forms a key structure shared by both physical landscape and website, which invites users to venture onto a digital platform to adopt a garden- a 2x2m square. They then choose the produce they want from a menu that allows for the designation of companion crops on a specific location, and follow through from the planting to the harvest and consumption of the produce.

The landscape site extends toward the south, dictated by the existing irrigation system in Taiki-cho. Consequently, the landscape design grows and morphs without a preconceived ideal form, exploring a dynamic beauty created by the intentions of anonymous users- connecting man, nature and technology. 

Step 1: Users choose a 2x2m plot online.
Step 2: Users are given the choice of different plants to be grown within the 2x2m plot. Suggested schemes and plant pairings are given as references.
Step 3: Users have access to the 3D view of the side. They will receive regular updates on their plots as well as information regarding the time of harvest.

During the harvest, users come together to share in the produce and learn different methods of processing food and storage. 3D render of the Grid Gardens in the summer and fall.

Raised floor - Takayuka (right) - to provide a view of surrounding landscape,
and earthen floor - Doma (left) - that connects the interior space directly with the outdoors.


The building structure consolidates activities that unfold through the site, arranged in four continuous tubular volumes.

Two volumes are dedicated to Takayuka space (raised floor) to allow for breathtaking horizontal views and ample daylight, and are used for cooking and research.

The Doma space (an earthen covered floor) becomes a haptic space where users get in touch with traditional Japanese earthenware, emphasizing the continuity between the landscape and the interior. Used during the harvest period, this space is for the threshing and grinding of wheat.

Yukimuro (Snow house) contains the snow that slides down for the four sides of the curved roof, allowing for traditional methods of storage. Aligned along the prevailing wind, the yukimuro serves as a courtyard in the summer, ventilating it with a cool breeze and creating a centre for gathering and sharing.

With each change in season, the malleable space is transformed to correspond to the different needs of the user, each space capturing a moment in time in the ever-evolving landscape.


In the first stage, plots are organized around the main structure where resources such as water and storage are centralized. Paths are then determined by wooden platforms, which serve as nodes for activity. The plants grow in a crucifix form as the paths seek to connect with other buildings on site. 

Diagrams to show the different functions of the house and how it is tranformed for various uses during the changing season

Diagrams to show flow of snow, water and wind to create circulation, natural cooling and ventilation in the house.