This is a project of a two-story timber house built next to the client’s parents' house in Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. The parents' house was also refurbished at the same time.
The road on the southeast side of the site is a national highway with frequent traffic. By rotating the new house 45 degrees against the road, we created a continuous line from the wall of the parents' house. As a result, two gardens are formed, one is connected to the parents' house, and the other is independent of it. The height of the new house is as low as possible in order to reduce the shadow in the garden which does not face the south and is surrounded by buildings.
Our main proposal was creating two floors with different characters under the roof lifted by a cross-shaped column so that the clients can choose the relationship with the surrounding environment they’ve been living in and think of a new diverse lifestyle.
The ground floor is a trapezoidal flat space created by combining a square and a right triangle wooden floor. The daily functions of the home are set in boxes made of plywood panels and placed randomly, creating living spaces while blocking the line of sight of each other. On the other hand, the openings of the house is set so that the views outside can be seen through the gaps of the boxes. The diagonal beam extracts the longest straight line from the quadrangular plan, emphasizing the horizontal spread. We made the column cross-shaped, which is a collection of five square columns (105 x105 mm) in the center of the plan, in order to keep workability when the erection of framing and to reduce partial loss of the floor beam. By following the grain of the floor and the direction of ceiling louvers to the axis created by the diagonal beams centered on the cross-shaped column, different spaces are created on the ground floor. These spaces respond to the surrounding environment and spread out around the cross-shaped column.
The stairs to the second floor are hidden in one of the furniture (made of plywood panel).
At a glance, it seems that there is no connection between the first floor and the second floor, but the light shining down from the louver floor and the cross-shaped column extending to the top of the roof imply the existence of the space between the louver floor and the roof. The second floor is a large attic space with no fixed use. The views of the north and the south sky and mountains can be seen from two skylights, however, it is not possible to see the surrounding gardens and existing parent's house. In contrast to the ground floor, that here is a space-separated from the surrounding environment. One of the cross-shaped columns on the second floor is slightly offset from the ground floor column according to the roof shape. The subtle shift between the upper and lower floors of the structural material makes the columns more furniture-like. The two spaces that are stacked coexist while feeling the presence of each other through the floor of the louvers.