Japanese House

"incorporates Japanese themes and provides a light-filled and comfortable family home"

In 2009 Konishi Gaffney completed their own self built house in Edinburgh.

It is a green house built on a small brown-field site on a back lane in Portobello. The congested and overlooked nature of the site required a careful balance between privacy and getting sunshine and solar energy into the house. It succeeds by turning its back on the lane to protect privacy while to the East and the garden a 5.5mx2.4m opening to the garden opens the house up to early morning sun, starting the heating cycle. To the South, to the lane, a large glazed 1st floor corner window brings South light and warmth diagonally through a double height space onto the concrete floor, used for its thermal mass.

Some of the fashionable “eco-bling” products were rejected in favour of these passive solar techniques, in addition local, recycled and recyclable materials were specified throughout and the house is super insulated. The result is that in spring, summer and autumn, while the sun is high enough, the house requires no heating. In winter under floor heating is proving comfortable and efficient space heating while top-up heating is provided by a wood burning stove. The house was designed whilst living and working in Japan (2007) and as a Scottish | Japanese practice a number of Japanese themes were adopted.

The Japanese House was shortlisted for a Saltire Housing Award and won the Edinburgh Architecture Association (EAA) small projects award for 2010. It has been widely published and was opened in 2010 for Edinburgh’s Doors Open day, receiving an extraordinary 1500 visitors.

  • Location: Portobello, Edinburgh 2009
  • Photography: © Alan Craigie