A Set up for Future
There the site is, in the utmost periphery of suburban development area around Tokyo, which requires you almost 40 minutes’ trip on conventional rail line from city center to reach. The landscape never stops changing in its transition from urbanization control area consisted of green land and farmland to urbanization promotion area dominated by residential area. It should take another 10 (or more) years until the area stabilizes as a calm city.

Disharmony and confusion are inevitable element of transition. However, it doesn’t feel right to force the residents to live in tolerance before the transition ends, which would take a considerable amount of time. As a people living in a country where transition makes usual state, we opted to seek for an architectural method which would go face to face with the shift from present to the future, not a short-time solution.

Adopted was single architectural operation. That is, to shift the upper and the lower parts of a three-layered rectangle volume, half buried in slope topography with almost three meters of vertical gap, by its short side. It would form italic “N” shape which provides unchanging woodland scenery in the south and creates a large terrace, while securing privacy and natural light by creating three-dimensional offset against the adjacent land which is currently vacant and used as parking lot or farmland but would be packed with houses in the near future.

The form selected as a “set up” for future urban environment is more than a passive response to the external factor. It autonomously creates space variation. Natural light through the volume holding southern rooms bounces in between the floor of the second floor and the ceiling to reach the double-height space resulted from the shifting composition. Along with the distance owing to the depth of the volume, the light creates “inner feeling” relative to the disorderly growing outside world and gives the living environment a sense of calmness like a cave. Allocation of spaces for “move/stay” is also defined by the axis going across the structure diagonally. Geometrically narrower part serves as a place to move and wider part as a place to stay. The flow lines which never cross at a right angle smoothly connect both spaces to blow organic and changeable sequence into living experience.

What I saw in the new light is a plain simple fact that there is no “completion” to the world. Everything keeps on shifting, leaving distortions and friction as they are. This fact, however, never rules out the existence of “universality”. Sandbanks in the streams somehow keep their shapes. Then why not architecture stays in the stream of time. I sense that “universality of the next level” which can be reached by positively accepting chronal “shift”, not by the traditional attitude to ignore time course, would be the essence of such architecture.