Built in the 1920s, this shophouse used to be a book shop called The Lucky Book Store. The ground floor was the retail area, while the upper level was partitioned for storage. Behind this shophouse was a long, narrow concreted vacated land. Surrounded by 3 to 4-storey service apartments and semi-detached houses, a portion of its side faces a back lane, franked by houses on both sides.
When they are young, places like a narrow path between houses, the edge of a garden, the back of a shed, under the floor, or an open lot are the preferred playgrounds of children.
Rather than a park or garden that was built to be played in, we wanted to make a house with a courtyard that would become a playground naturally.
Rather than a collection of rooms, we think of this house as a collection of constructions, and we produced a design that seems to be made out of various different structures. Paths covered by a glass roof weave between the disconnected structures to create an interior space that feels exterior, a private space that feels public, a hall that feels like an avenue. In that space the children can run around, you can enjoy a breeze while you eat, read under the sun, and fall asleep watching the stars.
There is a charm beyond imagination there, beyond normal home life.
Just like children who use space outside to its full potential, we wanted to make equal the relationship between inside- and out by using the courtyard as a part of everyday life and bringing inside activities outside.
Beyond making city streets like courtyards to make them feel closer to houses, we want to continue to try and envision the architecture of the future, moving past the inside-outside relationship to find new types of connections.
“Instead of keeping places normally used for movement such as an elevator shaft or stair wells closed, we wanted to open them up to collect light, using them as lightwells to maintain the lighting coming in from above. As light travels downward through the lightwells, exterior ‘bar graph’ like apertures maintain lighting on the lower levels, and gradually decrease in number towards the upper levels. This lighting design, using the building’s positive-negative relationship between interior and exterior, makes uniform lighting on each floor possible.”
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House H is the latest project by Sou Fujimoto Architects in Tokyo. It’s new experiment to find a balance between volumes, spaces and light. There’re a lot of stairs in this house and I’m also wondering where the bedrooms are. But I wouldn’t mind if Sou would do some projects in Berlin.
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Architect Adam Kalkins had this compact container changed into an Illy Caffe and with just 90 seconds it can turn into to a fully furnished and functional space with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, living room and library.