ST-House by
PANDA

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Japanese studio PANDA gave this house in Tokyo a glazed ground floor, then enclosed it in a high concrete-block wall.

ST-House by PANDA

Named ST-House, the three-storey building was designed by PANDA to mimic the profiles of its neighbours, as required by local planning regulations. This created a steeply pitching roof on the north side and a right-angled volume to the south.

ST-House by PANDA

The single-storey concrete wall borders the site on every side, creating a partially-enclosed terrace surrounding the ground-floor living and dining room.

ST-House by PANDA

"By placing concrete block fence along the site border we create semi-interior zone between the walls and the house, so that the interior space is visually extended to the full extent of the site," explains architect Kozo Yamamoto.

ST-House by PANDA

A narrow window stretches up on one side of the facade, revealing the position of a steel staircase leading up to a bathroom and study on the first floor, then a bedroom on the second floor.

ST-House by PANDA

Clerestory windows bring light into the top floor from the highest section of the walls, while at ground level glazing skirts the base of the building so that it is screened behind the outer wall.

ST-House by PANDA

"We want to provide various conditions of light on each floor," says Yamamoto.

ST-House by PANDA

The house was constructed with a timber frame, while the facade is coated with a clean white render.

ST-House by PANDA

Japanese studio PANDA also recently completed NN-House, a little house with a triangular courtyard and an L-shaped roof terrace behind its walls.

ST-House by PANDA

See more Japanese houses on Dezeen, including a house that lets light in through the roof.

ST-House by PANDA

Photography is by Hiroyuki Hirai.

ST-House by PANDA

Read on for more information from PANDA:


ST-House

This small three-storey house is built on a 40m2 lot located in a residential district, which is a few minutes walk from the main road. It is a densely built-up area with small two- or three-storey houses, representing a common living condition in Tokyo.

ST-House by PANDA

Therefore our client's request reflected common demands of urban residents: they wanted living space that is 'closed' for security and privacy, but also 'open and bright' with sufficient natural light inside.

ST-House by PANDA

Due to limited budget and modest lifestyle, the house is a simple three-storey house of wood construction, with each floor accommodating different function. Building height and ceiling heights are automatically determined by north side slant line regulation.

ST-House by PANDA

We intend to create a sense of spaciousness in this small volume. In order to maximize the verticality we provide living/dining/kitchen space adjacent to stairway on the ground floor, so that they can experience the full height of the volume from there. By placing concrete block fence along the site border we create semi-interior zone between the walls and the house, so that the interior space is visually extended to the full extent of the site.

ST-House by PANDA

We also want to provide various conditions of light on each floor. On the ground floor the entire space is illuminated with indirect light coming from above through the semi-interior zone and stairway, creating soft and diffused effect like artificial lighting. On the contrary they can enjoy direct natural light coming in from windows on the second and third floors.

ST-House by PANDA

Architects: PANDA
Architect In Charge: Kozo Yamamoto
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Structural Engineer: a・s・t atelier
Contractor: AZ Construction
Total Floor Area: 62.14 sqm
Building Area: 24.08sqm
Year: 2013

ST-House by PANDA

Above: ground floor plan - click for larger image

ST-House by PANDA

Above: first floor plan - click for larger image

ST-House by PANDA

Above: second floor plan - click for larger image

ST-House by PANDA

Above: roof plan - click for larger image

ST-House by PANDA

Above: section A - click for larger image

ST-House by PANDA

Above: section B - click for larger image

  • http://www.theenglisheye.com Mr J

    The inner faces of the concrete wall might be less oppressive if treated to a beautiful trompe l’oeuil land- or seascape.

    • Olgiati

      Yes but that would be shit. Too many people reply on here with what they would do. The architect and the client in this house want the effect they have produced. In Japan because no one worries about selling on their house are happy to experiment without worrying about resale values or what Mr J thinks. All to the good I say.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Like a cheap motel, the ground floor windows look out onto blank walls. But, as they say, they live differently in Japan, where apparently no one cares for a view.

    • dcalvitti

      In very tight spaces, it's all about light and shadow. That's what houses like these are about. Imagination fills in the gap. "Views" are anyhow a relative value.

  • eric

    Japanese architecture is basically interior design. Nothing wrong with that, but just don’t pretend it’s more.

    • rye

      Can I ask what makes you say so? To me as a Japanese interior designer practising in New York, Japanese people seem not to know how to furnish and decorate their houses per se, due to their strict “less is more” policy.

      In fact, I see lots of Japanese projects here are lacking the lighting principle, materiality and such, which are all very much deciding factors of successfully executed interiors.

      Japanese architecture seems to me way too concept driven. It feels like you have to have a grand concept to live, just in order to convince yourself why your house needs all the weird, unusable spaces. But the reality is, there are only few who want to go through the form-finding experiments. Good design doesn’t need to be so avant-garde.

  • MJM

    There would be no view anyway, except to the street and that would sacrifice privacy. This way they’ve allowed plenty of natural light to enter the ground floor and maintained privacy, then you can travel up to the upper floors and you get your view. It’s clever.

  • mik

    Argh. How bad can design be?

    • ZumthorFanatic

      Certainly not as bad as what you do. Also, I suggest that people who know nothing about Japanese minimalist design and architecture better shut their mouths if all you can say are terrible and ignorant opinions about landscaping, views and privacy.