House in Takarazuka

Takarazuka, Hyogo
Hiroyuki Hirai

What special qualities of a site can serve as a starting point or a source of inspiration for design? That is the question I asked myself as I began this project. The site is a lot in a terraced subdivision, typical of the vast suburban developments being constructed in the hills of north Osaka. It is on the west edge of the development and faces a very deep valley. On the outer edge is a road. The valley retains its original topography and a natural environment characteristic of north Osaka. This led me to consider the relationship between the house and the valley. In the end, I opened up the west side of the house and exposed the form. The interior spaces of the house relate to the valley, not directly, but through the mediation of private outdoor spaces, such as balconies and terraces.
The house has a courthouse plan. The first floor accommodates the private areas and the service facilities. The living room and dining room are on the second floor. They are glass boxes surrounded by a terrace and balcony. As a result of this organization, the first floor is an intimate and enclosed space while the second floor is an open space. The roof is of steel frame construction, I tried to make it appear as thin and as light as possible and to give it a floating form. A part of the roof over the living room is translucent. A spatial connection is thus achieved between the exterior and interior. Continuity between the exterior space of the valley and the interior space of the living room is a very important aspect of this house.
Although this is just a two storey house, rising only a few meter above the ground, it is nearly 100 m in height if measured from the bottom of the valley. A floating roof garden in a natural setting was an idea that interested me in this work. The house can be likened to a ship about to embark on a voyage down the valley.