HU-TONG HOUSEBack to Projects list
- Western Japan
Upon my past visit to a Hakka residence in China, I have been amazed to find that its inner court was called a 'street' or a 'lane'. Until then my idea of an inner court had always been a private space cut off from the outside. The fact that it was named as a public space has surprised me, and made me aware that for Hakka people, an inner court is a public space.
This house is located in an area where residence and commerce coexist; a typical mix found in any provincial city throughout Japan.
The client being an artist, the program was a rather peculiar one as a house, consisting of a residence and an annexed atelier.
The result features a plan similar to houses of Hakka or those in Bali Island. Walls surround the site and the house is composed of three pavilions: the living/dining wing, bedroom wing, and the atelier wing.
Starting from a corner of the site, the approach leads to the terrace between the single-storied living/dining wing and the bedroom wing, then to the 'open field' -like space in front of the double-storied atelier wing, on to the back porch under the Japanese-style room, and further along a continuing sequence of external spaces.
In this house where there are no corridors nor halls, this external space linking the three pavilions becomes the stage for all the activities of this house. It is no longer a calm and stabilized space called inner court, but a space with aspects as if it were a 'street' or 'lane' of the Hakka society; an 'open field' space like the Hu-tong in Beijing, China, or a tiny 'urban space'. I have wished to reflect upon the prototype of the Asian house through an attempt for a somewhat contradicting way of introducing a public external space into the inside of a private house.