House in Kamigyo

Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Hiroyuki Hirai

This house is located in the center of Kyoto City. Covering the entire site area, the building consists of an oblong concrete box with a frontage of 4.2m and a depth of 10.0m, running east-west. A 2.75m stretch of the long axis is used for a court (nakaniwa). As a result of this layout, each floor floats in the homogeneous space of the concrete box, connected by the garden in the east and a staircase in the west. This effect is further enhanced by the grating floors of the second and third floor balconies jutting into the court, and by the punched metal sheets of the stair. Both the nakaniwa and staircase are closed to the outside environment on lower levels, and gradually open the higher one ascends. In this way, the court, flanked on ground level by a Japanese-style room, is virtually undisturbed by street noise. The whole construction seems to be filled with the same tranquility that was characteristic of the tiny tsuboniwa of a machiya (town house).