“We aimed to harmonize the architecture with Karuizawa’s unique climate as well as the principles of traditional Japanese wood structures,” explains Ryue Nishizawa.

Serene, minimalist and contemporary, SSH No.03 by Ryue Nishizawa is the third architect-designed structure at Shishi-Iwa House Karuizawa.

A modern riff on sukiya teahouse-style architecture, it consists of a scattering of 10 peaceful pavilions, connected by a flowing network of wooden engawa walkways – a contemporary version of the corridors that often border traditional Japanese homes.

Inside the minimalist pavilions are tea rooms, lounges and guestrooms with clean-lined expanses of hinoki cypress wood, touches of tatami and large cut-out windows framing green views.

For Nishizawa – an award-winning architect and co-founder of Tokyo firm SANAA – the project’s starting point was the idea of creating a structure deeply in tune with the beauty of its natural setting. And so all around are glimpses of nature – from the seasonal gardens that wrap around the pavilions to Karuizawa’s dense forests and mountains just beyond.

SSH No.03 by Ryue Nishizawa is scheduled to open in 2023.