The owners of a home built in Maebashi, a city northwest of Tokyo in Japan, wanted an inexpensive home constructed with affordable materials. Also on their wish list was a space to grow cacti and succulents.
The architects at Snark Architects and OUVI succeeded in creating an amazing home, known as the House in Nakauchi, which features large windows for a greenhouse feel that glow at night. The two-story home opens onto a large porch that can also be accessed from the outside. The house was designed by Snark Architects’ Yu Yamada and Tomohiro Okada and OUVI’s Shin Yokoo and Kakeru Tsuruta and completed in March.
It’s not coincidental that the Maebashi residents were interested in gardening. The city, in Gunma Prefecture in the northern Kantō region of Japan, is known as the "City of Water, Greenery and Poets" because of its pure waters, its rich nature and because it was the birthplace of several modern Japanese poets, such as Sakutarō Hagiwara.
Indoor gardening has gained popularity in recent years as many people have forsaken having children. Now, spaces that would normally be populated by children are being used to indulge in hobbies. The Independent‘s Kashmira Gander says “[My roommate’s and my own] plants seem to be filling a space in our lives that would have in generations past been taken up by the stomping feet and sticky fingers of children.” Gander believes that her generation has traded child-rearing for plant-growing as a result of job insecurity and escalating real estate prices.
There is evidence to support Gander’s theory. Houseplant sales have skyrocketed according to retailers. In 2016, the US National Gardening Report revealed that 5 million of the 6 million Americans who have recently taken up gardening are millennials. The trend is also reflected in the popularity of plant and gardening social media sites, like Jungalow® on Instagram, which has more than 1 million followers.
According to Jazmine Hughes in The New York Times, "Part of this is our fascination with whatever "wellness" is; perhaps we also want to add a dash of greenery to the disgusting railroad apartments so many of us call home. But a leading theory is that plants make us feel like grown-ups. When the traditional signs of adulthood — marriage, homeownership, children — are delayed or otherwise out of reach, it’s comforting to come home to something that depends on you."