Prototyping UH by
General Design

| 6 comments
 

Japanese studio General Design constructed this two-storey house in Tokyo as the prototype for a series of urban housing templates that can be replicated in any Japanese city (+ slideshow).

Prototyping UH by General Design

"The clients simply asked for a basic house for themselves and their two children, so we regarded this project as an opportunity to work on urban house prototypes," says General Design.

Prototyping UH by General Design

The building comprises a simple two-storey volume with a gabled roof and a plaster-covered exterior. There are no windows on the front facade, but a sky-lit atrium and private courtyard are contained behind the walls.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Skylights are dotted along the roof on both sides, bringing natural light into the house from different angles. There's also a square window in the top-floor living room, offering a view out across the neighbourhood.

Prototyping UH by General Design

A large living and dining room spans the length of the building and folds around to a kitchen at the back. The glazed courtyard sits on the left, while an extra room at the front provides an office that allows residents to work from home.

Prototyping UH by General Design

An industrial staircase spirals up to the first floor, where a second living room leads through to three separate bedrooms.

Prototyping UH by General Design

General Design is led by Japanese architect Shin Ohori. Other projects by the studio include the bare concrete and steel headquarters for clothing brand Neighborhood and the windowless concrete flagship for Lad Musician. See more architecture by General Design.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Photography is by Daici Ano.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Here's a project description from General Design:


Prototyping UH

The site is located in a typical urban site in central Tokyo, where low-rise wooden houses and light gauge steel apartment buildings are densely built up in narrow quarters.

Prototyping UH by General Design

The clients simply asked for a basic house for themselves and their two children, so we regarded this project as an opportunity to work on urban house prototypes.

Prototyping UH by General Design

This simple pitched-roof house, finished plainly with mortar, has rustic appearance like a barn.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Above: ground floor plan - click for larger image

We adopted a standard wood frame system to achieve a simple layout and low-cost construction. This prototype can be adjusted and be built on any other urban sites.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Above: first floor plan - click for larger image

Large openings are located around the small courtyard on ground floor, and a picture window towards the adjacent park is provided in additional living room on the second floor. And large skylights on the roof allows for nice breeze to flow inside, and also give contrasting effect of light and shadow throughout the house.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Above: second floor plan - click for larger image

We opened up the interior space as much as possible so that the family feels as if spending relaxing time outside, under the blue sky. We intended to turn this tiny urban lot into a place where the family members can live openly and enjoy sufficient light and wind.

Prototyping UH by General Design

Above: long section - click for larger image

Architect: Shin Ohori / General Design Co., Ltd.
Location: Meguro, Tokyo
Site Area: 120.04 sqm
Built Area: 64.33 sqm
Total Floor Area: 141.07 sqm
Structural System: Timber
Completion Date: May 2012

Prototyping UH by General Design

Above: cross section - click for larger image

  • Paul

    Here I miss the common cleverness in modern Japanese architecture. Especially the spiral stair takes up so much space and doesn’t even look very nice in my opinion.

  • Francesc

    That is really poor architecture.

  • Concerned Citizen

    There it is again. To take a bath everyone in the house must enter the bathroom from the living room. Is that just an exhibitionist trait among the Japanese?

  • smack

    So it can be replicated in any Japanese city because it barely pays any reference to the street, right? That’s what you mean, I assume.

  • zizi

    Still can’t understand how the Japanese can live in these claustrophobic spaces.
    The skylight doesn’t help avoiding the impression of a prison.

  • oh.stv

    I seriously cannot see any claustrophobic issues with this house. I actually think it’s a nice fusion of introverted space but wide open to the sky.

    The typical Japanese clean finish and tidiness does the rest.

    Love it!