The Totoro House – A Beautiful Project Rooted In Imagination

The iconic animation My Neighbor Totoro by Studio Ghibli is highly praised for its originality and for the beautiful way in which it transmits deep emotions. It’s a wonderfully imaginative story about meaningful relationships, about humanity and nature. It’s still a wonderful source of inspiration even more than 30 years after its release. In 2021 CplusC Architectural Workshop worked on the Totoro House, a project which was comprised of the renovation and expansion of a family house located in Australia. 

The Totoro House enjoys a strong and organic connection with nature and its immediate surroundingsView in gallery
The Totoro House enjoys a strong and organic connection with nature and its immediate surroundings
The large circular windows and the curve of the roof give the house a friendly and interesting aestheticView in gallery
The large circular windows and the curve of the roof give the house a friendly and interesting aesthetic

Initially, the existing house was separated from the garden and one of the objectives of this project was to remedy that and to create a stronger bond between the house, its inhabitants and nature. Another main objective was to update the existing house and to add an extension to it in a way that allows inhabitants to feel close to one another even when they’re in different spaces or enjoying different activities. 

The circular windows have two layers of shutters, both solid and translucentView in gallery
The circular windows have two layers of shutters, both solid and translucent
The outdoor social area really feels like a very natural extension of the indoor spacesView in gallery
The outdoor social area really feels like a very natural extension of the indoor spaces
The architects introduced layers into their design as a way to add depth and character to the houseView in gallery
The architects introduced layers into their design as a way to add depth and character to the house

Translating these concepts into something tangible, into architecture and interior design was an inspiring challenge for the team. One of the strategies they used was to minimize and in some cases altogether remove the boundaries between some of the interior spaces as well as between the house and the beautiful landscape which surrounds it. The living area, dining room and kitchen were combined in one big space and this area was also extended outwards creating an exterior social area. Aesthetically, it’s the large circular windows that stand out the most. They’re a beautiful design element and they also add a playful and fantasy-inspired vibe to the house as a whole. 

The social areas of the house were designed with context in mind and with a specific focus on the viewsView in gallery
The social areas of the house were designed with context in mind and with a specific focus on the views
The existing house was renovated to match the bright and open feel of the new extensionView in gallery
The existing house was renovated to match the bright and open feel of the new extension
The frame around the big circular window can also be used as a cozy seatView in gallery
The frame around the big circular window can also be used as a cozy seat
The existing house was turned into a private volume with cozy bedrooms and inviting bathroomsView in gallery
The existing house was turned into a private volume with cozy bedrooms and inviting bathrooms
This area looks whimsical at night when the garden and surrounds light upView in gallery
This area looks whimsical at night when the garden and surrounds light up
In addition to housing the social areas, the extension also acts as a connector between the main house and the beautiful gardenView in gallery
In addition to housing the social areas, the extension also acts as a connector between the main house and the beautiful garden