Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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House in Kitano 2

Location / Hyogo, Japan
Type / House
Family constitution / two generations

Tato Architects
Team / Yo Shimada Hironori Shirasu
Design・Structural Laboratory
Team / Masashi Ouji
Team / Youko Andou
Team / Tatsuya Kokaji
Osawa Koumuten Ryosuke Osawa
Three-storey + basement
Main Structure – Steel
9,113mm in height of the eaves high 8,916mm best
Plottage 130.11 ㎡
47.30 square meters of building area (80% of 34.58% of coverage ratio permission)
123.78 square meters of deferred floor space (240% of 90.49% of floor area ratio permission)
B1 floor 47.30 ㎡
First floor 19.90 ㎡
Second floor 29.08 ㎡
Third floor 27.48 ㎡

Architecture is a mean to find a way to appreciate space and the environment. And as such a quest for designing buildings that makes the surroundings more attractive begin.
Located on the edge of the central part of Kobe, this house was built for my parents. The plot located on a slope was about two meters downward from the road. The north side facing a big mountain, while south and west face apartment buildings. As such a quite depressing site.

Located on the border between city and nature, the project started by looking for a way to appreciate its surrounding environment.
Testing a variety of plans resulted in a parallelogram footprint that were able to meet the local building code even on this irregular plot.
Building the house as a single volume seemed to create a volume visually too large or heavy. So the part of the building that rises above the north path is split in half, creating two volumes connected by inserting staircase in the open space. Structurally the two volumes are connected by a balcony on the south, covered with a thin shell-structure. The exterior space under the balcony lies sheltered by the surrounding buildings and has a spatial quality very similar to a courtyard.

Entering the house the path towards the stair has a slight incline that follows the surrounding slopes. By creating this interior slope, the height of the basement floor became suitable for living spaces, and the installation of an elevator.
The house consists of nine different rooms with diverse characters. As such waking through the rooms bring a various spatial experiences. Like the variegated surroundings, this house brings together a radical amount of elements that together creates a whole. Spaces with reference to back alleys, rooftops and caves; Large windows that blur the border between in- and exterior; Mirrors strategically placed so they reflect the outdoor green and sky into the interior; The stair connecting two volumes, mixing with furniture and changing materiality along the way; A slope referencing the outdoor and a large painting on the wall; and a washstand mirrored in the wall so it looks like a whole dining table. All factors that work together to create a different perspective in this house.

In addition to its many spatial characteristics, it was found that the house has impressive thermal comfort throughout the year. During winter the sunlight shining through the top light warms up the air inside; in summer vines and green grow across the skylights and blocks out the heat while creating soft shadows on the walls and stair, this and natural ventilation creates a comfortable indoor climate.

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