Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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House in Midorigaoka

Location / Hyogo, Japan
Type / House
Family constitution / 2 adults


Tato Architects
Team / Yo Shimada Yasuko Hamasaki Shinpei Oda
Osawa Koumuten
Team / Ryousuke Osawa

Two storey
Main Structure – Timber
6,820mm in height of the eaves high 6,655mm best
Plottage 107.98 ㎡
53.37 square meters of building area (50% of 49.42% of coverage ratio permission)
91.01 square meters of deferred floor space (200% of 84.28% of floor area ratio permission)
First floor 46.37 ㎡
Second floor 44.63 ㎡

This house was created for two adult women, mother and daughter.
Due to location and budget, we choose to build a two storey wooden construction. Making space for parking in the front, while keeping a safe distance to the old retaining wall in in the back, left us with a small rectangular plot of 6×7 meter.
By partitioning, the rectangular volume with a centred cross, all rooms became of equal size, all facing in two directions, inwards to the centred connection point and outwards to the context of the city and landscape.
The opening placed in the centre of the building, but corner of each room, creates a mysterious connection. One space is normally connected to the one next to it. In this case, the visual connection between rooms become diagonal, playing with the relation between rooms, plus the perception of depth and size of the interior.
Standing in one room the two adjacent rooms, though being in reality being the closest, seem further away than the one diagonally across. Developing this concept of “near and far” we choose to strengthen the visual connection by using materials and colours that mirrored the diagonally located room.
When you gaze in a diagonal direction from the living room, the wood that spans both the interior and exterior finishing makes it seem as if you are peering into a detached cottage. By shifting your sightline, the kitchen takes on the appearance of a niche, and the wood that recalled the exterior of a cottage now looks like the interior of a kitchen. Then by moving into the kitchen and looking back at the place where you just were, the landscape on the other side, cut out by the hanging partition wall and counter, rises up in the completely white space as if you are looking at a stage. Beyond the window, occupying a large horizontal area, you can see the peaks of the Suma Alps. If you shift your sightline toward the workroom, beyond the horizontal window, you can see high school students running quickly past.
A variety of things is visible on the opposite side from where you are. Though they are right next to you, it seems as if they are faraway. Alternatively, you might also say that things seem to be there, but they are not – or that they are right there, but they seem to be part of the same very near place. Many different “opposite sides” emerge every time you change your position, growing nearer or farther.

This is the kind of small house it became.

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