Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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House in Shioya

Location / Hyogo, Japan
Type / House, Renovation
Family constitution / Single adult

Tato Architects
Team / Yo Shimada Hironori Shirasu Shinpei Oda

Kyouwatekuno Okamoto Honda
Main Structure – Timber
92.45 square meters of deferred floor space

A man in his 20es who had bought the 50-year-old house located in Shioya, Kobe, commissioned this renovation project.
The standard renovation style for these types of houses is often to remove all interior walls, creating one big open space. But for this single resident it was the better choice to keep and create a variety of smaller spaces. Since the budget was also limited it was chosen to leave the outer appearance almost untouched while focusing on how we could create a dramatic change to the interior space while preforming a minimum of renovation.
The existing plan featured a very traditional layout with more or less the same room sizes copied from ground to first floor and a dark tight stairwell whose only purpose is to connect the two floors. It was decided that this dark crammed space would be the centre of the renovation, in the hopes of it being able to create a more three-dimensional-line-of-sight through the house and floors, while at the same time having a great impact on the other spaces in the house.
The studies of the space resulted in inserting a “box” into the existing building. 2.7×2.7 meter in footprint and 5.4 meter in height it was inserted into the centre of the house. The interior of the box painted white created a light abstract space in strong contrast to the original building. The rooms adjacent to the inserted box staircase gained a variety of new qualities that lifted the atmosphere of the house to a more modern expression.
This house serves as an example of how remodelling an ordinary house can have extraordinary results. By adding a simple yet complex element into the existing structure it was possible to change the expression of the interior drastically. This simple gesture illustrates one of a number of choices that created a welcome and enriching contrast with the existing interior. The surrounding reconstructed functional zones were also redistributed ensuring that the resident and his guests will be struck again and again by the beauty of the original space, which they may have previously disregarded, in relation to the powerfully straightforward modifications.

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