House in Sashiogi

Shigeo Ogawa

This house is located in a Tokyo suburb in the middle of a tranquil landscape dotted with fields and buildings. When I first visited the site, I suddenly was reminded of an image, a photo of Richard Neutra’s Strathmore Apartments built in 1937. The apartment stands in the neighborhood of Westwood, and what came to mind was not the architecture itself, but the nature captured in the background. The landscape in the photo was so barren, and I remember being startled to learn today’s lush landscape of the Westwood neighborhood used to look like a desert with sparsely growing shrubs. No such landscape exists in the suburbs of Tokyo, but the site of this project unexpectedly reminded me that the Case Study Houses were achieved because of the empty state of land in the 1950’s Los Angeles.
In a place like this, a single-story house with an open floor plan seemed to make sense. Considering changes in the surrounding environment and the urbanization that might occur in the future, we determined that a somewhat contradictory mix of a half-closed open-plan would work in this mundane rural landscape on the outskirts of Tokyo. A semi-transparent metal fence surrounds the house’s perimeter blocking the view from outside, while the house’s exterior walls are transparent glass. The space in between that could not be quite described as a garden, functions as a buffer space for the changing of the environment in the future. Thus we designed, in a broader sense, an open-plan architecture with a double-skin. The house is a wooden structure with rafters as the main structure, while other elements, including the exterior deck and the fence, are constructed with mass-produced materials to ensure high performance. We aimed to create an interior landscape with the contrast of the wooden structure and industrial products.

English translation: Fraze Craze Inc.