Architects: Jun Igarashi Architects
Location: Tokoro District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan
Area: 112.0 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Iwan Baan
Structural Engineer: Daisuke Hasegawa & Partners
Structure: Timber frame
About the Site
The site sits in Northern Japan, in a small city of Eastern Hokkaido with a mere population of 7000. The forestry industry has been lasting since long ago, however depopulation advances while the factory industry declines. The house sits on a large site of about 2000 square meter in such a city. Building density in the area is very low, a unique cityscape in Japan. To the East, across the street, there is a wood factory, to the West, a hospital. The house has quite a distance from the nearest neighbors sitting to the South and North making it difficult to draw from the context.
For the couple who will be residing here, the basic program is placed in; entry foyer, entry storage, family room, kitchen, guest room, bedroom, side room, wash closet, wash room, and bath. The residents do not want to feel the eyes of the passer-bys and that there is no difference in floor level.
As we begin our studies with the given condition, a rational square plan is constructed with the rooms fitted into the plan. However, we realize that this method creates extra circulation corridors and orients rooms and views in an irrational manner. The smallest plan of each program is cut out to be placed in a location and orientation that is favorable. For example, the kitchen is placed in a “selfish” way to look out to the tree garden on the site, and then connected the dinning to the kitchen. With this method, the extra circulation corridors to connect the spaces and hierarchy due to its location and orientation are omitted.
Volumetric study follows by setting all volume to 10 m high. From this point, according to the room function and area, the appropriate ceiling height is applied to each volume. Each volume becomes shorter as it sprawls from the tallest central living room. From certain points of the site, the house may look symmetrical but one step over, the form changes; similar phenomenon to construct in nature.