- Structure Engineers: Enshu Structural Consultants
- City: Kobe
- Country: Japan
Text description provided by the architects. A holiday house with a garage designed in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. As the owner has plans to build a house nearby, this is a place for displaying his cars and enjoying his leisure time. With the owner’s request for sufficient parking space, we decided to use the whole site as a building with enough room for the cars to turn around easily.
The site is a corner plot located on the highest point of a residential area developed on a hillside slope. The area is known as a high-end residential neighborhood, and the housing area of the plot is three times larger than that of other residential areas nearby. The plots align the street, each neatly arranged in order from front to back with retaining walls, parking lots, gardens, and mansions. Most of the area has this orderly cityscape, but partly due to there being a park and open space nearby, the neighborhood still gives out an unstrained impression, reminding us of the hillside slope before the land was developed for housing.
In keeping with this laid-back, unstrained feel, we wanted to create a parking and leisure place on the whole site. To this end, we placed furniture and equipment seemingly randomly in the fenced site to resemble a park, with a large pavilion-like roof at the center. To be specific, we built a fence along the road boundary with 1.85-meter-high boards, just high enough to obscure the view from the street; we built an earth-retaining wall along the boundary with the neighboring site on the west, where the ground is 1 m higher; we placed a 17-m-long bench on the south end of the site to serve as a blindfold between the house next door. We paved the site with gravel and laid concrete only in the area for the cars. On the concrete floor, we placed a storage box and a water space box, which were 2.2 m high, and a flat roof on top of it. We installed two rows of sliding sashes under the roof, which can be closed or opened to give the feeling of being inside or outside.
The roof and fences that cover the site, together with the area’s footpaths and street trees, create a roadside landscape. Gravel, furniture, and cars are all equally present under the roof, and the surrounding landscape is visible through the gaps. We built this house directly in this residential area by doing away with various boundaries, like a boat floating in the sea. The neighboring houses and surrounding mountains can be viewed as its garden and the tree-lined streets as an approach to this house. This is a house that stands on a hillside slope, making use of the built-up residential area as its structure.