House in Fukawa

Our September Japan Style issue celebrates design influenced or inpired by Japanese culture. In conjunction with the issue, guest writer Cathelijne Nuijsink will be covering residential projects by the core of young architects presently working in Japan. Week 1: Suppose Design Office.


“In architecture we tend to measure everything using a certain scale,” 36-year-old Makoto Tanijiri says about the standard dimensions and relative proportions of architectural elements. “People experience a space to be much bigger if they cannot figure out the exact size of it.”


Tanijiri put this theory into test in House in Fukawa, a house for four located in the suburbs of Hiroshima. A central staircase stands like a thick tree trunk at the heart of the residence. Three bedrooms clad with coniferous plywood are suspended from this core, each at a different height and turned at different angles. The residents can use the spaces between, above, and below the closed boxes in any number of ways; the uppermost reaches are akin to a rooftop terrace, the closed spaces bedrooms. When the residents, Kenta Kubo, his wife and two children, step out of the staircase into the livingroom, they experience an ocean of space where interior and exterior are difficult to tell apart. “Within the limits of the plots I tried to grasp a sense of infinity,” Tanijiri says. “Similar to the lack of scale in the sky or the sea, residents in this house cannot sense the scale or distance between each other.”

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