The Miyawaki Gurindo housing complex under construction, with greenery still to come. Real Estate Japan, Keita Nagata

One unit’s roof serves as another unit's garden.

We’ve seen homes and villas built into mountainsides. But a recently completed project in Japan puts an entire seven-unit residential complex into one.

Located in the Kagawa prefecture’s capital Takamatsu, the Miyawaki Gurindo complex is built into the foot of Mineyama mountain. Since about 75 percent of Japan’s land area is covered by mountains, the project demonstrates a practical approach to a common challenge.

Designed by architect Keita Nagata of Keita Nagata Architectural Element (link in Japanese), the undulating complex took two and a half years to complete. It features five levels, with one unit’s roof serving as another’s garden. The bottom two levels each have two units, while the highest unit has a second floor.

Floorplans of the Miyawaki Gurindo complex. (Keita Nagata)

By building into a mountain, Nagata took advantage of natural insulation and geothermal temperature control. Each unit has a stable indoor temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), complemented by cooling and heating tubes buried below and connected to fresh air.

A rendering of the Miyawaki Gurindo complex showing the air ducts below the units. (Keita Nagata)

Some potential residents might worry about earthquakes, so Nagata employed steel-reinforced concrete for the outside walls.

The bottom units rent for 66,000 yen ($530), the top one for 135,000 yen ($1,090). Designed for single people, the bottom units feature a bedroom, living room, and kitchen and measure just 30 square meters (323 square feet). The other units, meant for families, have about 75 sq m (807 sq ft). All the units have yards, except on the lowest level.

A rendering of the Miyawaki Gurindo complex, with the greenery. (Keita Nagata)

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

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