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Monday, August 16, 2010

House in Showa-cho

House in Showa-cho, Osaka, Japan by FujiwaraMuro Architects

Text and images are courtesy FujiwaraMuro Architects; photographs are by Shintaro Fujiwara.

Even though it is in downtown Osaka, Showa-cho is a quiet place. Many people in the area reside from a long time ago. The property for this house has a narrow frontage, which is actually part of a row house (17.89×3.94 meters; 59x13 feet). Instead of closing the house from the street, the design sees front of the house as opening to the street's scenery.

A big problem was figuring out how to have an expansive feeling and continuity from the front to the back of the house with only a three-meter-wide (less than 10-foot) clearance inside. The main solution was to use cross-section construction. From front to back: the double-height living room, stairS, four layers of construction and rooms from basement to the third floor, and a small outside stairwell. Each floor adopts the skip-floor method, which made it possible to see to the street from the back rooms.

Despite the stairs being in the center of the house it does not block the view to outside. Glass was used for every partition wall (even in the bathroom!). Slots were also made on the floors and ceilings. From these effects, the house can be unified with the outside and therefore create a larger atmosphere within the house.

In general, when building on a small plot of land, design tends to make the house spacious while keeping privacy through introversion. In such a case, the façade would normally be built as a solid wall, creating an enclosed and pressurized atmosphere. Since the Showa-cho property is a small plot of land, the house was constructed with a front yard to follow the building coverage ratio. In this case, the house in Showa-cho deliberately includes the city as scenery and made a façade by planting a tree in front of the house, something that can also be seen inside.

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