Cross House | Love Architecture
Cross House is home to a novelist whose wish was to have an isolated house in a quiet location surrounded by greenery. That is not easily achieved in the suburbs of Tokyo, but the novelist did manage to find a small lot located along a riverbank greenway. There are tree-lined footpaths on three sides of the property, providing some separation from neighboring houses, and a quiet residential street on the fourth.
All the foliage gives the appearance of seclusion, but in reality there is a constant stream of people using those pathways. The small size of the lot meant that they would be passing just a few feet from any house built there. The challenge was how to maintain adequate privacy without turning the house into a windowless bunker.
Architect Yukio Asari of Love Architecture came up with the idea of rotating the house, setting it at a diagonal on the lot. Removing the four corners created a cross-shaped floor plan with small garden areas all around it. Angling the house away from the footpaths and reducing the scale of main façades makes the house appear smaller and less imposing to the passing pedestrians. Natural wood siding was chosen to further minimize the visual impact of the house.
All the windows were placed at the cut-out corners facing the pocket gardens, with none in the main façades. That put most windows at the corners of the rooms, limiting what can be seen from outside, especially after the plantings mature. Light washes over the textured surface of the flanking wall and gently reflects into the room, creating a wonderful softly-lit atmosphere. The hallways end at windows, offering constant glimpses of the outside as the inhabitants go about their daily routines.
The 126.2 m2 (1,359 m2) house has three bedrooms upstairs. There is a tatami-floored Japanese-style room on the ground floor that could be used as a fourth bedroom, but it is a bit narrow. Incorporating the hallway closets into the room would make it a comfortable size though.
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