Nakanosawa House is a two-household residence designed for two brothers and their wives. Although the adjacent area is mostly residential, this particular site is located near a river that flows in two directions. Because of the reservoir situated nearby, there are no other buildings located next to the house. To the south lies a large grove of trees whose thick foliage softens the sunlight that falls through it during the summer. In the winter, on the other hand, sunlight streams through the trees and brightens the interior of the house.
A mutual sense of distance was essential to the design of this residence. While making sure that each of the two sections of the house received adequate light, we took extra care to position the windows in such a way as to prevent lines of sight from intersecting with each other. The resulting design allowed each household to be relatively oblivious to the presence of the other. Because the two households had different schedules, routines and lifestyle preferences, we decided to standardize the materials used for the façade of the building, while also designing different interior layouts for each respective space.
The elder brother and his wife occupy Block A, which is situated on the north side of the building. We designed this part of the house so that it would have the maximum height permissible by law. The client requested an open space with as few windows as possible opening directly onto the exterior surroundings. In response to these somewhat contradictory demands, we installed enclosed terraces on both sides of the block, as well as large windows that open onto them.
The younger brother, his wife and their child live in Block B. In order to avoid any blockage of sunlight reaching Block A, we decided to give this part of the building as low a profile as possible, with modest proportions. Although its frontage is not particularly wide, Block B has a depth of about 24 meters.
Another space that plays an essential role in this building is the common “garage annex” shared between the two households. Although the garage comes right up to the street that runs in front of the house, its reduced height helps to alleviate the sense of oppressiveness in the surrounding area while emphasizing the length of the wall at the same time. The garage is therefore an indispensable tool for integrating the two residential blocks of the house into a single, unified whole.