From the outside this house in Nagoya by Japanese architect Tetsuo Kondo looks like a pile of overlapping boxes, but inside it opens up to form one big bright space (+ slideshow).
As the home to family of four, House in Chayagasaka was planned by Tetsuo Kondo as a single space so that residents can always see what's going on elsewhere in the house.
"As both of the parents work, they wanted to have as many common areas as possible, in order to spend more time together as a family," said Kondo. "So I decided to build a one-room house, with a lot of subtle balance between connected and separated areas."
The main body of the two-storey building comprises six cuboidal volumes, with small gardens and balconies squeezed into the spaces between.
A white metal staircase winds up through the centre of house, beginning as a rectilinear form but soon adopting a curved shape.
This staircase leads up from a central living area to two children's bedrooms and a bathroom, each set at a different level. Two final steps ascend to a terrace in the far corner of the building.
"When making a house for a young family with children that will soon grow up, and the developing area around the house will change fast, it seems to make sense to design a house with very open architecture," added Kondo.
Glazed screens surround the two small gardens that puncture the volume of the house at ground floor level. One is positioned alongside a dining room at the rear, while the other pushes into the space of the living room.
The floor steps down at the front of the house, defining the boundary of the master bedroom.
Tetsuo Kondo founded his studio in 2006 and previously designed a house where every room leads through to a little garden. Other projects by the architect include a walkway that winds its way around tree trunks and a mirror that becomes cloudy when viewed from the side.
Photography is by Iwan Baan, apart from where otherwise stated.
Here's a project description from Tetsuo Kondo Architects:
House in Chayagasaka
This is a private residential house for a family of four in Nagoya - a young couple and their two small children. The site is located close to a new metro station, in an area that is developing rapidly. As both of the parents work, they wanted to have as many common areas as possible, in order to spend more time together as a family. So I decided to build a one-room house, with a lot of subtle balance between connected and separated areas.
In this project, I tried to achieve architecture that welcomes a large variety of things, in a state where all the parts are mutually interrelated. This architecture is not one dominated by a strong system or built in a well-ordered manner, but rather one that incorporates various meanings and it seems difficult to understand why it was made that way. When making a house for a young family with children that will soon grow up, and the developing area around the house will change fast, it seems to make sense to design a house with very open architecture, one with balance that can accept diversity.
I designed a strange shaped one-room house by placing ordinary room-size boxes of variable shapes. I tried to deal at the same time with components which might normally not be directly related, such as widths, heights, structures, brightness, functions, shape, circulations, terrace, etc. The relationships between these things are very complex, and if one part would be changed, it would influence the whole building. However, from the perspective of a whole, it can be absorbed.
I think this type of architecture can achieve a new kind of residential comfort, by mixing various things including the present and the future course of life, as well as the history and culture of the location.
It manages to maintain the diversity of a certain state of equilibrium with order. The order should not constrain the system, but it should rather loosely define its relationship. I aimed to create an architecture in such a soft order.
Location: Aichi, Japan
Program: Private house
Completion Period: September 2012
Total Floor Area : 89.55 sqm
Site Area: 97.58 sqm
Architect: Tetsuo Kondo Architects
Structural Engineer: Konishi Structural Engineers