House in Hakata

Hiroshi Ueda

This house was built in a residential area in the suburbs of Fukuoka. Its frontage was designed especially for this narrow, deep lot closely surrounded by buildings on all three sides of the adjacent land. Facing the road on the south side, the sole open landscape, is a low-rise public building.

The only greenery that this L-shaped, planar building has been allowed is the borrowed landscape of the structure across the road and the courtyard in the three-level stairwell on the northwest corner of the lot.

The second-floor living room affords a view of the spacious natural landscape across the road through the wooden louvers on its exterior. The horizontal louvers perform two contradictory functions: that of blocking the view from the road on ground level, and that of maintaining an expansive, horizontal line of sight.

The courtyard, which links the three above-ground floors, acts as a ‘TSUBONIWA’ garden for the Japanese-style room on the first level, while at the same time, performing its central function as a landscape outside the glass wall in the second-floor dining room. As an element with two faces that works both in a Japanese garden and as a contemporary expression, we selected ‘bamboo’. Needless to say, the plant also emphasizes the vertical design of the three-level courtyard.

While functioning as an urban residence in a high-density district, the ground floor might best be described as a closed, introspective space. The aspect of the uppermost floor of the structure, conceived as a penthouse, though, is markedly different. Designed to function as a child’s room and study, the space is so open as to be almost completely exposed. The open roof area – in essence, a rooftop garden – creates a strong contrast to the closed lower floors.

The inclusion of these two outdoor spaces, the courtyard and the rooftop garden, is meant to ensure the building’s success as an urban residence.