Project Size: 1,078 square feet
Program: Although located in a neighborhood near Kyoto known for its historical buildings, this house is in a newly developed residential area marked by contemporary architecture. It sits near the top of a hill on an unusual fan-shaped site bordered on the south and east by roads and the west by a bamboo thicket. Regulations limit the height of the building to 16 feet on the north side of the property. To amplify the sense of space within the dwelling for the tight site, the clients requested the public areas of the house be given an open plan.
Solution: The architects placed thirteen 26-foot-high louvers on the south facade to allow light to penetrate far into the house. The fins serve both as blinds to give visual privacy from the road and to subtly filter light through the interior. In this way, they are reminiscent of trellises on the facades of merchant houses in Kyoto as well as traditional shoji Japanese screens. Windows inserted in the west wall of the fiber-reinforced cement clad structure allow occupants to have views of the bamboo thicket.
The wood frame construction is concealed for the most part, except for wood columns in the kitchen, dining, and living areas on the first floor. The second level, split in section to make the most of the house’s limited height, is divided into the children’s quarters and a study on a lower part, with a bathroom a few steps above. From a rooftop deck, the owners can look out over central Kyoto.
The architects inserted lighting on the inside of the louvers to illuminate both the interior and exterior of the house. At night, the entire building gives off a soft glow like a giant lantern.
Owner: Tomoya Bando, Ikuyo Bando
Completion Date: May 2012
Gross square footage: 100.19 m2
Total construction cost: $682,000
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
General contractor: Yamamoto Yasu komuten
Photographer(s): Toshiyuki Yano
CAD system: Vector Works
Metal doors: aluminum door (LIXIL CORPORATION)
Pulls: WOOD (design: Fujiwaramuro architects)
Floor: oak flooring (Kousei CORPORATION)
Ceilings: Acrylic emulsion paint
Tables: D614 (Fritz Hansen)
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability: PlantSapphire Skies Blue Beaked Yucca