Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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House in Hikone

Location / Shiga, Japan
Type / House
Family Structure / couple + 2 children

Tato Architects
Team / Yo Shimada Takeo Watanabe Yuka Himeno
Takashi Manda Structural Design
Team / Takashi Manda Taijiro Kato
Amuza Koumuten
Two-storey House
Main Structure – Timber
Site Area 77.63㎡
Building Area 61.62㎡ (30.46% of max 60% of coverage ratio permission)
Total Floor Area 106.39㎡ (53.20% of max 200% of floor area ratio permission)
First floor 61.62 ㎡
Second floor 44.27 ㎡

Window and Landing
This project is a single-family house for a young couple and their children in Hikone, Shiga. The site is located in a residential area, currently consisting of mainly grassland, but soon to be occupied by ready built houses. The challenge was to find a suitable building style that fit the surrounding environment and allowed to keep the feel and memory of grassland. It resulted in a white oval shape with forty-two windows. It was placed diagonally on the site while still keeping some distance to the surrounding buildings. In the elliptical cylinder, wooden boxes and a floor were inserted to create the living space. The many windows segment the view and make the façade work as a filter. In this way, the house is ready for any change in the surrounding environment. Curiously enough, invisible parts were supplemented suitably, and a certain type of transparency appeared. The outer wall, on which the windows are placed equally, mediate a variety of living issues, while it is independent from them. The building gives the impression of a structure that was build for another purpose, fell into disuse, and was renovated as a residence.

In this as well as previous projects, we have played with the styles of landings and windows.
We have designed many landings. A place “floating” in the air, from which you can look back to where you just were, and look forward to where you are going. House in Kawanishi, which was completed before this project also included the concept of a landing. Most importantly, in this case the space used for landing was bigger than usual. Belonging to neither the ground nor first floor it was a space in-between; with the first floor placed above, so it could function as a desk.

As well as House in Kawanishi, the intentional division of stairs creates a landing in this house. In this case floating delicately 750mm above the floor.
We tried to reinforce a subtitle feeling of belonging to neither of the floors not only by the landing but also by manipulating the window arrangement. While the windows have a conventional scale, the size of the opening is easy to manipulate, as they are not restricted by scale. With a reference to House in Hieidaira, where we utilized the conventional image of barns, to make archetypal houses look smaller than their actual size. In this project we placed three rows of windows equally distanced, expecting to create a scale gap in its size, and a mystic feeling of floating in-between, that is similar to the one felt on the landings.

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