This is a renovation of a 40-year old apartment in Tokyo. All rooms had sufficient light and wind from many windows along south and north walls facing wide streets. We converted the three-bedroom apartment into a large open space and let light and wind pass through in order to make the best use of the environment. In an open plan space, we need to consider how to locate spaces involving privacy including a bathroom and bedrooms and how to provide enough storage spaces. Our solution was to provide a large closet spanning the entire width of the room.
We removed all partitions and made a large floor area tomaintain some "margin" and a sense of spaciousness. Large furniture divides the space according to daily functions and loosely defines a "place" for life, not "rooms". We focused on how to integrate the large piece of furniture into daily life. Reflective finishes are applied on the surface on which daily scenes are reflected and diffused light is reflected to illuminate the space. Closet doors are slightly angled to create subtle gaps in between so that the impression changes according to the viewing angle.
The ceiling and walls are left as they are. Instead of applying new finishes, lace curtains hung along the entire width of the walls serve as new "finishes" creating vivid contrasts with the existing walls. Delicate qualities of details and finishes stand out and a unique feeling of tension between the old and new is generated by keeping the existing state.
We envisioned a future house. A house reflects its social context and is planned to meet values, customs, and lifestyles of the time. To think about a future house is to imagine future society and lifestyles. This apartment was built in 1979 based on a typical family apartment plan in Japan. Our clients wanted to have a flexible living environment allowing for various activities such as inviting guests and working. A typical apartment plan centered around a space combining a dining room and kitchen, which started 40 years ago in Japan, is no longer effective and needs to be updated to meet diverse demands of today's society.
In this project, we intend to deconstruct a typical apartment based on a "room" and reconstruct it as a "place." Our focus was on how to incorporate the surrounding environment and envision lifestyles in the new era. The space should be flexible to respond to changes in family structure and the key is to provide some "margin" allowing for possible changes in the future. An open-floor space provides a sufficient "margin" and furniture can be effectively used to utilize the "margin." In this way, we can propose unique solutions to meet various demands of clients.
By exploring a future house, we acknowledged unmeasurable values of spaces that cannot be evaluated based on conventional standards such as the floor area or the price per unit area. Deconstruction/reconstruction of evaluation criteria is a crucial factor in evolution of houses.