Tato Architects / Yo Shimada

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House in Futakoshinchi

Location / Kanagawa, Japan
Type / House
Family Structure / couple

Tato Architects
Team / Yasuko Hamasaki
Design・Structural Laboratory
Team / Masashi Ouji
Seiko Kenstsu
Main Structure – Timber on concrete mat foundation
Site Area 77.63 ㎡
Building Area 35.05 ㎡ (45.15% of max 60% of coverage ratio permission)
Total Floor Area 92.45 ㎡ (119.09% of max 200% of floor area ratio permission)
First floor 35.05 ㎡
Second floor 35.05 ㎡
Third floor 22.35 ㎡

Many urban housing lots in Japan, have been divided into pieces, leaving small narrow sites. And many new constructions follow a general pattern, where the various functions are laid out around a stairway in the centre of the room. While this may be a solution to fully utilize the limited space, it raises the question on whether it is comfortable to be in the house with the stairway and other details of the house always in sight.

In this project, we choose to create partitions to limit the visibility and give a sense of expanse to the existing space. Everything is coordinated within a “box”, with a 4.8 x 7.4 meter footprint and a height of 8.2 meter, the interior is divided into six floor levels connected by various stairs.

For the façade we wished to use charred wood, to do so special fire resistant plates were used. The plates are a part of the main structure and allows the building to comply with the areas strict fire regulations. As such, we were able to clad the façade with charred cedar, creating a high durability exterior with a calm appearance.

Entering the house, you step into a small atelier like space, with a concrete floor the same level as the outside. This allows the resident to bring in his motorbike for storage or small maintenance but also gives space to other DIY hobbies.
On the left, you can walk a few steps down in to the half-underground bedroom where the interior is cladded with paulownia wood that helps controlling humidity.
Waking up from the entrance, takes you to the dinning and kitchen area on the second floor, from here you can turn and walk up three steps into the living room, then turn again and walk up through the stairwell to the third floor. The variety of stairs and their placements makes you rise up through the building spirally.
The living room has an open atmosphere with direct sunlight brought in through three windows.
The dining room has a calmer atmosphere created by the skylight 6 meter above that allows sunlight to reflect down and fill the space with a soft light.
The bathroom on the top floor is filled with sunlight from the rooftop sun deck allowing an open yet still private atmosphere.
The direct visual connection to the stairwells from each room is very limited, but still has a major impact on the interior as these have skylights that brings down the sunlight in to the rooms. This invisibility created by the partitions works together with the light to give a sense of the rooms expanding through the borders of the walls ensuring the space feel open even though it is a small building.

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