A new home for a family displaced by the Tōhoku earthquake | Ninkipen!
When their lives were abruptly thrown into turmoil by the destruction of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, many people had little choice but to leave the devastated region. One family with two small children opted to rebuild in Ikoma, a mid-sized city on the outskirts of Osaka. Architects Ninkipen! designed their new home, giving them a harmonious environment in which to restart their lives.
One end of the long and narrow house rests on the hillside site while the other end, supported by concrete columns, seems to float off into space. It looks a bit precarious but a steel frame below the floor provides lateral stability. The space below the raised end gives the kids a sheltered place to play and also serves as the entry porch, with stairs rising up into the small house.
The front part of the 119 m2 (1,281 ft2) house is taken up by double-height living and dining spaces. Sliding glass doors can close off the living room when quiet is needed. The kitchen consists of a long, thin concrete countertop on simple wooden shelves running down one side of the house. At the back there is the bathroom and a bedroom, which looks like it is being used as an office. The centrally-located stairs lead up to a cozy upper level with another bedroom plus an open loft space that could be used as a third bedroom.
The interior is a peaceful blend of white plaster, plywood and smooth concrete. Numerous large windows and skylights flood the home with light for a warm, inviting living environment. We do wonder, though, why there are so many windows facing the neighboring house and the street above, but none in the gable end overlooking the city. Although the materials are simple, they have been assembled with care and attention to detail. One very nice touch is the wood covers over the electrical receptacles.
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