A sculptural house for a tight urban site | Sou Fujimoto Architects
This small house, designed for a family of four, has a sculptural shape that from some angles resembles an iceberg. And like an iceberg, part of the house lies below the surface. The roof volume is a gentle swoosh, rising out of the ground at the living room, which is mostly underground, and peaking over the bedrooms at the other end.
The swooping shape isn’t just for aesthetics though. The property is a “flagpole” site with no real street frontage other than a narrow access path. Apartment buildings hem in the house on three sides, but a cluster of trees stands to the west. The sloped roof and angled sidewall were a clever solution that allowed architect Sou Fujimoto to focus the views towards the sky and the treetops, rather than having windows directly face the apartments. Angling the wall back also kept the northside entry path more open and sunlit.
The glass entry vestibule leads into the ground-level kitchen and dining area in the middle of the house. A wide set of stairs follows the roof up to the children’s lofted bedroom, which gives them a view over the entire open living space. Their parents’ bedroom and the bathroom are located below the stairs. At the low end of the house, the living room was sunk into the ground. Though still open to the kitchen and dining areas, it nonetheless has a cozy, cocoon-like feel.
A narrow stairway and ladder provide access to the roof through operable skylights. The roof surface, with built-in benches and planters, provides the family with outdoor space. A disadvantage of the sloped roof design, however, is that there isn’t any really flat space that would allow them to rearrange the furniture at will. Perched at the edge of the roof is a “hanare”, a small ancillary building often found in the gardens or courtyards of traditional Japanese houses. This one can function as a gazebo when its sliding doors are open, or as a home office, hobby room or guest room (it has its own powder room) with the doors closed.
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Photographs by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Sou Fujimoto Architects. Via Metalocus.
Text copyright 2014 SmallHouseBliss. All Rights Reserved.
Unfortunately, I believe the psychology of the space will prove to be unsuitable to many people. Is this a case where the architect paid too much attention to form rather than function?
This is a house made for a specific family, on a specific site and with specific demands. In Japan, houses are built to last no more than 20 years, and in this time, the owner or the people who inhabit the house usually do not change. This kind of house and actually almost all of modern japanese housing have to be evulated by others standards that we are accustomed to in europe or in the usa. And seriously, function is overrated anyway 😛
What an interesting house! It almost has a space ship, nearly too sterile feel, but at the same time I quite like it. The expanse of space compared to what the apartment dwellers probably have must seem like an enormous luxury. The only part I couldn’t live with is the placement of open stairs over the food prep area. Even without shoes in the house, you’re bound to shuffle some bits of dirt and such through those open steps.
I’m not into modern style but this is a magnificent use of space, It is maybe too white ,,, I’ll assume that color will be added later. in the meanwhile it is a pure & simple place, full of light