Ikuno-ku, Osaka
Hiroyuki Hirai

The small house is located in one of Osaka’s downtown areas, where row houses with pre-war plottages line the streets, interspersed with factories and warehouses. For the building, part of a row house was removed. In the site thus created, a double-deck steel construction (with a frontage of one bay of 2.58 m and a depth of three bays of 5.4 m) was erected with a small courtyard at its center. The floors of both the courtyard and the dining room are covered with white tiles, so that both areas form a single space without distinction between indoors and outdoors, when the doors between them are fully opened.
To achieve the highest possible degree of factory production, a special method (similar to prefabrication) was devised, reducing on-site work to a minimum. First, four wide-flange steel frames were erected at equal intervals along the length of the plot rectangle. Then, the floor of the upper story and the concrete foundation were completed. With this, the frame was finished. All that was required afterwards was to attach molded cement panels and aluminum windows and doors to the frame, using curtain-wall techniques.
The project was carried out under extremely difficult conditions, as both the plot and the budget were limited. However, this did not negatively affect the building’s design; instead, it taught me that such difficulties can actually stimulate the imagination.