Volcanic soil used in eco-house construction

Volcanic soil mixed with cement to create building blocks was used in the construction of a house in Japan by Tokyo studio Aray Architecture

The residence, called Shirasu House, is located in Kagoshima Prefecture, in the south west of the country.

The two-storey residence accommodates a family of six, who requested an energy-efficient home that incorporates natural systems of heating and cooling – which are provided by the building material with the bricks used for the both the inner and outer layers of the walls.

“The spaces between bricks form an insulating layer to reduce the thermal load from the outside. It plays the role of an aerated zone to prevent condensation,” Suzuki said.

“The form of the house promotes the airflow stack effect.”

The family dining room and kitchen are positioned in the middle of the house, while a double-height living room occupies a triangular space on one side and opens out to a decked terrace.


A timber and steel staircase leads up to the first floor, which contains a children’s room and a study. There is also a small enclosed terrace, which is fronted by perforated brickwork to allow views down to the street.