o house

project: o house
location: tokyo
type of use: private house
status: completed

architect: kentaro kimizuka/kimizuka architects
structural engineer: akira ouchi/s form
photo: makoto yasuda

brief description:
A three-storey house for a nuclear family. The site is situated near a noisy main road and surrounded by small office buildings and dwellings.

To ensure privacy and noise reduction, massive polished plaster walls were set out first. Then openings were clipped out to gain natural light, wind, view of sky and an adjoining garden. The main area, comprised of living, dining, kitchen and atelier, is secured on the first floor and open to a private terrace surrounded by the plaster wall and louvers. The second floor, white box slid from the lower mass, is a solution to reduce impacts to neighbouring sites due to the shadow and volume.

While the appearance creating an identity in a built-up area gives a hard impression, the interior is naturally lit and comprised of open plan layouts. The deliberate window allocation is in view of physical circulation, composition, and comfortableness rather than aesthetic motive for the façade itself. In fact, once residents enter the house, they are always directed into rooms by natural light filtering in wherever they are. All the internal doors are full height sliding doors and unify all the rooms spatially and thermally when they are open.

Design vocabulary adopted as a tool to communicate with the client is simple and plain. However, while the scheme is developed logically in this way, a contrasting approach was taken for the detail of finishes. That is, the ‘uneven texture’ of polished plaster, glaze on porcelain tiles, screed, oil stain, etc. The synergetic effect of the light and the uneven texture details in contrast with the minimal composition create ‘complexity in simplicity’. Thanks to the connotation of such contrastive components, this house produces ‘cosiness’ while simultaneously being contemporary.

The project, O House, is a case study to create a residential environment in a crowded urban area, like a symbol of the current ‘information junk’ world. As mentioned above, all the noises of the surrounding are blocked up by outer walls first, and only selected values are re-introduced through the openings, re-organising sensible relations with the outside.