This long, narrow site with a frontage of 6.8m and a depth of 17m is surrounded on three sides by an adjoining plot.
In keeping with the client’s request for parking space for two cars as well as a garden where the children could play in, we created a “volume” of living space by leaving part of the front and back of the site empty.
This house is located in a dense residential area, where the windows and other openings of neighboring buildings often face each other. Even if the windows of a more recently constructed house are situated in deference to the layout and position of an existing adjoining building, these considerations are sometimes rendered ineffectual by any future rebuilding and alteration to the site.
For this project, we planned the layout of the windows in response to this problem and attempted to make them a central element of the space. Typical responses to this sort of situation often involve cloistered box-like structures with self-enclosed interiors. In the case of this urban residence, however, we felt that it would be a shame to ignore and shut out the meter wide gap that separates it from the adjacent house. Although we installed large, generous windows that face the adjoining building, we also ensured that the lines of sight from each window of both houses did not cross each other by manipulating the interior of the building.
Located on the first floor is the bathroom and wet area as well as Room 1, for which the client requested a certain degree of privacy. There is also a low window that takes into account the height of an existing wall that separates the house from the adjacent plot. A terrace provides a certain sense of distance from the inner courtyard located at the rear of the house, creating a private, tucked-away space bathed in soft sunlight.
Rooms 2 and 3 – the main living area and children’s room – are located on the second and third floors. These two rooms form a single space without being clearly demarcated from each other. The second floor, which faces the adjoining plot to the south and the main street to the west, features windows that are positioned slightly higher than eye level. On the third storey, we also created a wall of variable height facing the stairwell that joins it to the lower levels. This wall serves to shield the inhabitants from prying eyes, while also scattering and diffusing the light that enters from above. In addition, the terrace and stairwell along the north-facing side of the building serve as a sort of buffer zone through which diffused light can enter the house.
In this way, we attempted to realize one type of solution to the problem of how urban residences can preserve a certain sense of distance from their surrounding environment: by manipulating not the exterior, but the interior elements of the building.