Architect in ChargeMitsuru Hirai, Sayu Yamaguchi
Building area57.13 sqm
Text description provided by the architects. Meguro Architecture Laboratory has completed an experimental residence that can be opened out liberally onto the town by reducing construction through renovation.
‘En’ in Japanese connects to the outside world from the occurrence of phenomena such as omens and fate and it is in this that there is significance that expresses the relationship in which change occurs. This expressed the structure and framework of the world with the word relationship. The ‘en’ in this residence is exactly this kind of place and is a platform for creating various lifestyle landscapes.
The grounds are in Teramachi and it is possible to feel the elegance of Edo from the townscape. However, in recent years many residences with high walls have been built facing on to the road and the residences and the town are detached from each other and have become closed off. The existing residence for which work was planned this time was surrounded by high walls in the same way and furthermore, it was necessary to backspace the south of the grounds by widening the front road as a legal requirement.
First of all, the structure was reduced to a skeleton then it was all updated to current earthquake-resistant standards by reinforcing the foundations and reinforcing weak earthquake resistance. While doing this, a sash was inserted after backspacing the existing exterior wall on the boundary facing the south road on the 1st floor by 910mm. The backspaced area was covered with wood decking and while this ensured an expansion of garden space, the interior and exterior boundaries were distanced from the road. The wood decking area is called ENGAWA and was determined as an interim area that connects the garden with the interior space. ENGAWA is an exterior location enveloped in calm due to the existing oblique exterior wall.
It has been made possible to convert the interior and exterior portions by installing an external blind in the original wall portion. Through these kinds of multi-layered relationships, even though the distance between the road and the building is now closer, the height of the line of sight can be controlled by the backspaced wall and the small garden has been transformed into a new space that connects the residence with the town.
The interior is a space in which you can experience the connection with the outside as is. A round atrium has been installed in the centre of the house in order to create a sense of unity between the upper and lower floors. (The pronunciation for ‘round’ in Japanese is also ‘en’.) This gently cuts an arc for various lifestyle scenarios and creates new landscapes.
Beyond the small 2nd floor window that faces the atrium are the bedrooms and it is possible to make yourself heard in them from the 1st floor.
The large fixed fittings window in the gallery depicts the look of the sky on one side from the 1st floor kitchen past the atrium and when you ascend to the 2nd floor, the forest bursts in from beyond the town. In this way, people are connected with far away landscapes through buildings.