Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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House in Rokko

Location / Hyogo, Japan
Type / House
Family Structure / single adult

Tato Architects
Team / Yo Shimada Shinpei Oda
S³ Associates
Team / Ichiro Hashimoto
Osawa Koumuten
Main Structure – Steel construction
Site Area 295.31 ㎡
Building Area 56.00 ㎡ (19.00% of max 60% of coverage ratio permission)
Total Floor Area 94.50 ㎡ (32.00% of max 150% of floor area ratio permission)
First floor 47.25 ㎡
Second floor 47.25 ㎡

Looking for a Way in which Architecture is not Too Dominant for its Relation with the Environment.
This project like others is searching for a way in which Architecture is not too dominant in its relation with the surrounding environment.
Questioning what architecture that demands a superb view should be. You have to consider the way a building open up. By opening only to the side that gives the perfect view, it undoubtedly limits the relation to the near surroundings. So, in what way can the view be enjoyed without being too dominant?
The site is located on the edge of an old residential area on a hillside of Mt. Rokko. The site is relatively large, but can only be accessed by walkways making it impossible to bring in heavy machinery and building materials.
The buildings footprint of 3.5m by 13.5m was placed on the site so it kept a sufficient distance to the old retaining wall and heaped soil. The area for the foundation was dugout manually.
Owing to the sites location and topography, the resident didn’t have to be concerned about being watched from the outside. Therefore, the ground floor, which is barely visible from below, was fitted with glass all around to bring the environment and townscape into the interior.
It could be considered a semi-public space, functioning as a so called LDK. Living, dining and kitchen, equipped with a toilet for guests. And flexible enough to accommodate a variety of activities such as making music with friends, treating guests, and other hobby’s like taking care of bicycles.
Spaces like bedroom, bathroom and storage needs another kind of privacy, and were arranged on the first floor, in an archetypal house volume lifted up from the ground level. The shape helped the house relate to the surrounding old houses with pitched roofs. It kept a sufficient volume while the height according to local building codes was met. The openings on the first floor was placed with the consideration of natural ventilation.
A steel-frame construction was adopted according to the client’s wish. Because only man-powered construction was available on this specific site, small H-section steel beams was adopted as the main structural element. In addition, each building element was limited to a weight of about 100kg for carrying up to the site.
To reinforce the horizontal stability while placing a big hole for the stair in the first floor slab, 4.5mm thick steel plates were laid on the cantilevered balcony all around the building.
An under floor heating system with heat storage using midnight electricity was installed on the ground floor. Furthermore, a far-infrared radiation film floor heating system was placed on the first floor. Combined with accumulated heat by sunlight on the slab of the ground floor, the indoor climate is comfortable. In summer, balcony and eaves block most of the sunlight, and the breeze from Mt. Rokko will carry out indoor heat.
Careful observation of the environment without responding to it downright, resulted in a house with a glazed open space, with a high ceiling on the ground floor and a more closed and private space on the first. In this scenic area where a variety of residents’ styles and generations are mingled, we found a way to interact equally with the surroundings and townscape.

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