Traditionally, Kyoto has had a high planar density with townhouses in rows on a narrow strip of land and a low cross-sectional density. With low-rise buildings lining the street, that rich living space has been secured by arranging external spaces such as street gardens and tsuboniwa on a planar scale.
Today, however, while the planar density remains the same, there is a growing demand for mid- to high-rise buildings in cross-sectional terms, and houses must devise ways to incorporate effective exterior spaces in the new situation while taking advantage of the special characteristics of the city.
The residents are a Japanese family, but while conducting business in the USA, the children are attending school in Japan and spend long vacations in the USA. Therefore, the exterior spaces needed by an active family, such as a patio, terrace, and light garden, were three-dimensionally carved out of the house, and a lifestyle that develops around these carved-out areas was conceived. As an auxiliary line to the carving, an axis tilted to the urban grid was introduced, so that it extends diagonally across the site to Teramachi Street, the bustling street to which the house faces, allowing the view from the interior to the city through the exterior spaces, and allowing light and wind to pass through inside the house area.
It is a tsuboniwa garden arranged three-dimensionally. In order to allow people, the line of sight, and nature to pass through, single-hung braces, rather than load-bearing walls, were placed continuously from the first to the third floor on the inclined axis.
Each of these exterior spaces works like a polygonal prism, giving the people living in the long and narrow house a sense of space that extends in all directions, whether deep or open to the sky, or looking out over the city in the distance, and also cutting a new expression of Kyoto.
(Kentaro Takeguchi + Asako Yamamoto)