‘The Sasao House is located in a typical Tokyo neighborhood. Despite being located just a few blocks from the high-rise towers of Shinjuku, the building sits among relatively low buildings on a network of cozy back streets. The clients have deep roots in the area – Mr. Sasao’s father and his grandfather were running a tailor shop here. And now, Mr. Sasao is running a Tonkatsu restaurant by day and a bar by night in the same place.
The building stands on a corner used as a resting point during the annual Matsuri festival, and the clients wanted to create a dramatic background for the colourful floats. The white ‘stealth’ shape, looking almost like folded origami, is clad in trapezoidal shingles of painted metal and stands out against the dingy browns and greys typical of Tokyo neighbourhoods. The building was built to a relatively low budget but KDa wanted to avoid a domestic appearance, so they punctured the façade with windows of different sizes that mask the building’s scale. On the interior, the windows were deliberately placed low to the floor to promote cross ventilation and allow for comfortable views out when sitting at the table or on the sofa. The clients’ mother has lived in this land for over the last half century with rapid changes of this area, so looking out to keep in touch with neighbourhood happenings and local gossip is very important!
In addition to the clients’ restaurant, the ground floor includes a space to be rented out as a restaurant or salon. The clients’ parents occupy the second floor, while the third and fourth floors are the Sasao family apartment. The fourth floor includes a roof terrace that is hidden from the road, as well as a loft room tucked under the slope of the roof. Except for one wall of vividly coloured wallpaper that reflects Mrs Sasao’s personality, the apartment’s white walls and sloping roof surfaces are treated the same way, creating a cave-like protectiveness. However, large windows, including those to the roof terrace, draw in light and create an airy and comfortable place to live.’