House in Imabari
This project consisted of a residence for a couple with two children residing in Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture.
The surrounding environs included crop fields within short walking distance, as well as an elementary school on the road facing the space's south side. As a result, there was a constant presence of people nearby. The other three sides of the space were surrounded by row houses and private residences. The property was not so narrow as to be cramped, but there were nevertheless limits on how much the space could be opened up.
The client was born and raised in the area, so he was familiar with the neighbors since his childhood, but he wanted to create both a physical and psychological space between his property and the neighbors' homes in the within the limits of the spatial configuration of the neighborhood. The client also requested that the space freely let in light and air.
In seeking to create that sense of separation, we first created garden spaces at the north and south of the property, thereby "fitting" the LDK unit in between these two points. We extended an external wall gently around the garden sections in order to create an external space with the cohesive feel of internal rooms, at the same time extending the perceived continuity of the LDK. We situated the wet area on the north side of the house, which diminished some available space for the north garden, but by lowering the placement of the wet area by half a floor we gained a sizable space between the first floor and the floor of the second. This space was used to create a window opening letting in soft northern light.
The external walls were designed to allow some openings for line of sight and to regulate for the benefits of sunlight. This effect allowed light and air to enter each room at the same time that it gave some ambient awareness of the interior to passersby outside, preventing the space from appearing too imposing and closed off from the rest of the neighborhood.
In addition to the LDK rooms, the living room was also designed to abut the north and south gardens, allowing for an optimal flow of air and stable natural light throughout the day.
I believe that with this project we were able to effectively use the north and south gardens as an intermediate space between the residential area and the outlying town, as well as gently articulate a "buffer zone" between the client's property and the adjacent residences.