Coniwa is a cooperative housing project located in west Tokyo. It consists of eleven dwellings arranged around a lush courtyard, each positioned to face the unique, rich outdoor spaces and terraces that constitute a true oasis of privacy and quiet in the bustling metropolis. The characteristic of cooperative housing is that each unit is owned by a different person, giving the architect the chance of creating an ensemble of unique living spaces. The clients are initially provided with an empty skeleton plan in which YUUA creates a customised abode through a collaboration process. The result is a harmonised plurality of houses that reflect the identities of their inhabitants.
In the first design phase, while laying out the building’s framework, we carefully oriented the dwellings to have a favourable aperture towards the south. This side is usually the preferred one in Japanese residences, so it was further enhanced and improved through a structure of staggered elliptical arches that allow for wide openings. During the second phase the collaboration with our clients encouraged us to further refine this structure, which became the main aesthetic feature of the project, with the changing of the spans reflecting the volumes and interior planning and creating a playful, unique façade while presenting an interesting structural solution.
In the end, the use of the arch allows for the building to integrate itself in YUUA’s search for contemporary architectural expression that does not dismiss traditional, classical and timeless elements.