Architect in ChargeHiroki Tominaga, Yae Fujima
From the architect. This is the rebuilt small house for elderly couple in a small country town in Gifu. Two daughters are already grown, are working at Tokyo, and don’t intend to come back here for next 30 years at least.
It is clear that the lifespan of house is clearly longer than the lifespan of the owner. So we architects have to think about how the new house can be the part of landscape in such shrinking country town.
On the south side, there is highway, where many shops stands besides originally. We generally put the house back to the north side from the street, to get sun light or avoid from traffic noise, as the surrounding houses did. But we think that it should be avoided at the very beginning. If we build a new house in the above-mentioned situation, it has to contribute to the landscape of this street, we think.
Then we decided to make roof face along the street, and extend the eaves as long as possible toward the street. House wall is set back 2 meters from the street to make a parking space. So we can make the house face along the street, and when it is raining or snowing we can enter the house without getting wet after parking the car.
When the parking space is empty, owner can sell the fruits or vegetables which they grew.
On the other hand, if we make roof face on the south side, it is hard to get sun light into the house. So we put dormer window on the roof and inflate it to penetrate between south and north. Then it helps natural ventilation and the space under the window can be small loft for the daughters and grandsons when they come back in the vacation.
We put FRP honey-comb panel on the loft floor, which is transparent but heat insulting to get sun light to the tatami room.
A Big eaves is the traditional Japanese element and a dormer window is the traditional European element. But if we focus on the function, it can be combined and be new expression of architecture, we think. We tried to make the new house not extraordinary in the area, and also like advanced in wrong way in the architectural history.