Tato Architects updates a house with a curved plywood interior

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Tato Architects updates a traditional Japanese house with a curved plywood interior

Tato Architects has replaced all of the walls inside a traditional Japanese house with curving plywood screens (+ slideshow).

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

Studio founder Yo Shimada was asked to renovate the single-storey residence for a young couple. The building had previously been divided into six main rooms, but the Japanese architect felt an open-plan layout would be more appropriate.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

"A pure Japanese design, the existing house contained many rooms, which seemed to be unsuitable for a young couple who were starting a new life there," he explained.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

The entire interior was stripped bare, exposing the wooden structural framework. Storage areas and small rooms were then built into a side wall, while the rest of the space was divided by two curving lengths of plywood.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

Tato Architects first tried out this method in 2013 for a public toilet building on Shodoshima Island, but Shimada felt that the concept would be more successful applied to an old building rather than a new structure.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

"The tight schedule didn't allow us to spend time looking for a suitable existing building," he said. "However, since then, we have seen a distinctive potential for reconfigurations where spaces are divided by curved walls that are not related to the outer structure."

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

Named House in Kamisawa, the 87-square-metre structure is located in Japan's Hyogo Prefecture. The front of the building is designed to be more open plan to make the most of a narrow garden.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

Two plywood screens were added – one along the north-eastern side that encloses a bedroom and adjoining closet, and one towards the back that wraps a bathroom and guest bedroom.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

Because of the restricted budget, the original plan was to use 20-millimetre-thick plywood. On its own this material proved to be too flimsy, so it was replaced with a framework of steel rods, sandwiched between plywood layers.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

"The simple gesture created a new space, while the history of the house remained," added the architect.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

The leftover space in front of the curved screens accommodates a living room, dining area and kitchen island. Glass walls also allow this area to be opened out to the garden, which now features a timber patio deck.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

A new mortar floor was installed, integrating underfloor heating, while the bathroom is lined with polycarbonate plastic.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

There is also a small loft space located above the main bedroom, which can be accessed using a ladder.

House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects

For the house's exterior, Shimada chose a new cladding of charred cedar boards.

Photography is by Shinkenchiku_sha.


Project credits:

Design: Tato Architects – Yo Shimad
a
Team: Yo Shimada, Keita Kurokoshi
Construction: Kyowa Techno

Exploded diagram
House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects
Site plan – click for larger image
House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects
Floor plan – click for larger image
House in Kamisawa by Tato Architects
Section – click for larger image