House in Rakuhoku

Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Hiroyuki Hirai

This house is located in north Kyoto, in a residential area that was mainly developed after World War 2. Extending over the whole 5.6m-front of the site, the building measures 18.8m in depth and 5.95m in height. Inserted in the house’s concrete box is a 2×3 span steel-frame construction, with outdoor elements such as a central court, a terrace, and a piloti. The whole plan, one might say, is minimized: a concrete and steel framework with the least possible number of vertical planes (glass screens and walls as partitions) and only absolutely necessary horizontal planes (roof and floor). As a result of this deliberate frugality, the interior space, encapsulated in glass, gives the impression of floating in a transparent exterior space. In this work, I intended to build into a box with clearly defined dimensions (by the size of the plot) a landscape as deep as possible. At the same time, the building provided a first opportunity for me to think about such typical elements of traditional urban housing architecture in Japan as toori-niwa and tsubo-niwa (two types of small garden).