House in Yoyogi-uehara

Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hiroshi Ueda

This house for an elderly couple is in a quiet residential district in Tokyo. The ground level is one meter higher than the level of the streets on the west and south sides. There were many regulations concerning the configuration of any building constructed on the site; the overall building form and volume can be said to have been largely determined by those regulations.
The overall organization of the building was deliberately made ambiguous. The building is made up of a number of overlapping volumes, including that of the retaining wall, that is, the site itself. Diverse materials are scattered over the building including concrete, glass mosaic tiles, galbarium steel plate, bronze pane glass, transparent glass and plaster.
Access is from the northwestern direction, where the difference between the street level and the ground level is relatively small. One is led directly to the living room. By lowering the floor of the living room to a level below that of the terrace, I was able to provide the living room with a high ceiling despite the limited overall volume of the building. Basically the interior is one continuous space, but only a fragment of that space is visible at any one time. The interior has been designed as a maze like space. Although one can hear the voices and sense the presence of the residents from anywhere in this house, they are, as often as not, hidden from view.