House in Araiyakushi

Embrace aspects of the city directly
The surrounding of the site is a dense area of dwellings and commercial buildings. There are many land allotments before the war. The client’s request was a home office for a family consisting of 3 generations. The city has existed for a long time, and there is no clear urban axis. The existing houses crowded together with diversity in type of structure, scale, and use. Without planning, they developed in chaos but converge at characteristic and interesting balanced state, which seems to show us very Japanese aspects of cities.
Classically, monolithic ‘plus’ volume was usually built as a symbol of order to contrast a disorderly site background like this. However, it would just come down to one factor of dis-order, and discard the benefit of the city’s characteristics as well. Thus, we believed it is better to embrace dis-order as aspects of the cities positively and then convert it into a new quality of architecture.
This housing, functioning as office and residence for 3 generations, indeed possessed a certain volume. But instead of squeezing it as a square volume into the existing city, we decided to rather ‘infiltrate’ it through urban elements such as neighborhood, streets, existing trees, garden-stones, old well, shrine, etc. As a result, the outline became a complicated ameba-shape having several folds, which remained the aspects of the city. For uneven ‘human lives’, it can be also read as preferable ‘topography’.
In order to convert such urban topography into ‘the place of human’, the only architectural process, if it’s appropriate to say, was ‘a rectangle courtyard’ that located as a ‘minus’ architecture volume in the center of the complicated plan. It of course allowed comfortable lighting and ventilation while several folds were used as characteristic rooms suitable for various lives. In addition, a decent distance and space were secured among each family. Although parents and children were independent households, they were also integrated by inner ‘order’, namely the rectangular courtyard as well as the climbing beams sloping towards that courtyard with the same gradient.
By looking back what we had done, we found that it might just simplify a normal and prolix process -- placing ‘a simple architecture’ in ‘a diverse city’ and then create ‘residential diversity‘ inside -- into directly grasping ‘a diverse city’ as ‘residential diversity’. It might also reverse the way of architecture, the unlimited ‘ordering’ of cities by connecting city and individual life through reversing the inside and outside of architecture imitating the inward outside, the courtyard.
In any case, I believe ‘the future’ of architecture, which starts from ‘the end’ of urbanization, is very interesting.


Order infiltrating into the city / construction method without outline
For a long time, ‘order’ has been close to the center of my interest.
Clear ‘order’ established by social cooperation is essential to materialize the existence of extremely plural architecture, which is able to secure scientific rationality (i.e. structure, construction, material, energy,) as well as correspond with sociological rationality (i.e. economy, law, custom, historical culture). However, the world is a dynamic environment where all matters of universal nature continue to originate in. Although it is perfect at some point, static order could fail to function due to its completeness. From what I understand, the ‘coolness’ quality of completed order results from its fundamental character conflicting with us who are actually dynamic existence.
Nevertheless, as I said, it is nonsense to take ‘disorder’. Only does the support from complicated and incomplete order enable possibility of architecture in disorder ‘style’. What I desire is the order that has not been completed. We call it ‘open order’ or ‘flexible order’. It is the order, which will not lose its integrity that endures temporal changes and allows new participation from the outside.

One thing that I use as a model is order of creatures. It is a dynamic order keeping its integrity as an organism while still embracing usual changes of external environment and time. It is simple and efficient rather than conspicuously weird. For example, a kind of plants spreads its branches and leaves at every 144 degrees (called ‘phyllotaxis’) in order to prevent overlapping and therefore catch more sunlight.
By using such ‘open order’, I would like to realize architecture for the living world.