‘This project was located in a dense residential area of suburban Tokyo populated by a mix of new and older buildings. As our client wanted a space with a feeling of openness, our main concern was how to ensure both privacy and a sense of harmony with the surroundings.
This white house, which stands on a northeastern corner plot, projects a closed-off exterior with only a continuous series of horizontal windows on each side, obstructing views from the outside looking in. The ring-shaped wing wall protruding boldly outwards from the top of the entrance, which also accommodates a parking space, creates a semi-outdoor space that resembles a pilotis structure. This intermediate zone, delicately poised between exterior and interior, produces a measured and balanced sense of privacy.
The master bedroom, children’s room and bathroom are located on the first floor, while the second storey houses a large single space that serves as a family room. The rigid-frame structure that incorporates a number of steel posts within it allowed us to create a timber-framed house whose south-facing facade features windows that can be opened all the way.
The ring-shaped outer wall also proved to be effective in shutting out the chaotic urban landscape visible from outside the windows. This particular feature served to frame and ‘borrows’ the aerial landscape outside the house, bringing it into the interior while also obstructing lines of sight that might peer into it. The grating on the floor of the balcony admits light to the bottom floor, while also shielding the inhabitants from prying outside eyes at ground level.
In contrast to the private rooms on the first floor, the cantilevered second storey with its central public room projects an object-like presence. Although this configuration creates a loose separation between the living room and dining/kitchen, the continuous slanting ceiling serves to unite the entire space, creating a quiet sense of calm.’