Structural Engineers: Kenji Nawa, Nawakenji-M
Openness of space / Necessary space and Surplus space
This is a house for a Christian couple and a newborn baby. The client had two wishes for the house: A common room where the family, Christian friends and neighbors can learn the Bible together and the client can practice the organ for Sunday services and outdoor space where both the family and visitors can enjoy natural light and wind while keeping enough privacy.
The house is located a gentle sloping corner lot on top of the small mountain in Shin-Yokohama. The site which had been parking lot is surrounded by two story houses and apartments. The house is placed at a part of the site while the other part is used for 5 rented parking lot and 2 private parking space facing to the 2 side streets. Existing vending machine is kept as it had been.
The house is as closed as possible against surroundings with the wall which has only an entrance door and minimum small windows on the surface to protect itself against the environment: sound of using the vending machine, car light at night, automobile exhaust and the voice of people using the parking lot, etc. The house has enough open feeling continuing from the street and town while it’s closed against surroundings.
The normally necessary living spaces (living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, children's room, etc.,) take only half area in this house. On the other hand, the semi-outdoor courtyard takes the other half area of the house. And the common room is the largest room. I found that a lot of surplus spaces (unnecessary spaces) are needed in this house to create an generosity to accept various visitors and action. While the house is generally personal living place, it is also public and holy place.
The wooden columns and primary beams which pass over the entire ceiling is painted brown and the secondary beams on them are painted white.11 skylights on the primary beam intersections cast cross-shaped shadows.
When the big windows facing the courtyard is opened, the courtyard gradually connects to the indoor and there is less border between both places. The house turns neither indoor nor outdoor.
The surplus spaces sometimes turn to be used to eat foods or read books like dining room or study room and the necessary spaces are released from being necessary and turn to surplus spaces. Necessary spaces and surplus spaces replace their roles each other from time to time. I would like to believe such gentle sequential spatiality as what architecture should be.