Text description provided by the architects. Extension of a house without a “completion inspection certificate”. This property is located a short distance from the Kanamachi station in a low-rise residential area near Mizumoto Park, a well-known park in Tokyo. The client purchased the pre-existing building of 61.27m2 in 2010, this small two-story wooden house had become too tiny for the family of four as the children grew up. When the eldest son started junior high school, they wanted to provide him with his own room, which led them to start thinking about expanding the house.
The existing building had a construction permit issued in 2000 but had not undergone the necessary final inspection for its completion, so it did not have the “completion inspection certificate”. On top of that, there were major differences between the submitted drawings and the building itself: the building was actually located closer to the east side of the building instead of the west side, and there were several differences in the location of the columns and anti-seismic cross-braces. We carried out the required procedures, re-apply for the extension permit, and finally obtained the “completion inspection certificate”.
Extension that blends with the pre-existing building contours. The current owners have not inherited the pre-existing building, nor was it built by themselves, however, after living 10 years there it is a house full of precious memories. We decided to hold on to the pre-existing contour of the 20-year-old building and, in order to transform it into an interior space, we got rid of the minimum of elements of the exterior walls, balcony railings, shutter box, etc. while keeping the rest as it was.
What used to be the outdoor spaces are now interior within the extended area, however, we tried to keep its quality as “exterior” by using different finishing materials and by installing a crowning skylight window that provides faint natural lighting that blends together the outdoor interior and the indoor-exterior, as well as the new materials with the old materials into as a whole.
L-shaped extension and L-shaped top light. The pre-existing building had such a poor natural light exposure that it had to use artificial lighting even during the daytime. With the installation of the L-shaped skylight window where it used to be the balcony, we secured the necessary natural lighting by turning what tends to be a disadvantage of the extensions project into an asset. Three-dimensional one-space living room.
The first living room is in the center of the first floor where the whole family gathers. The second living room, for the children, is on the landing of the wide staircase leading to the second floor. The third living room is on the second floor and has a louvered floor above the first living room. A fluid three-dimensional one-space living room that bridges between the pre-existing building and its extension, where people can feel each other's presence at any time and its use changes depending on the season, time of day, and the users.
Multi-access decentralized layout. On the first floor, we planned two large double doors as access from the street and a secondary entrance door on the west façade. An L-shaped concrete-floor space runs along with the living room and the pre-existing pillars of the original façade. It is a multi-access space that connects other areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom. As for the stairs, the kids may use the sofa as a shortcut to directly access the in-between-floors landing.
The two bedrooms on the second floor facing the street can be also accessed via the porch, which serves as a utility room, and through the walk-in closet. In the future, it is planned to expand the porch with a balcony, and it will also grant access to both bedrooms, Also, craft space and a workspace, allocated for the creation of original clothing, are distributed separately on both floors. We believe that this house with its multiple accesses and flows will allow a wide range of usages and actions and hopefully become a flexible full-open house to live in.