Japanese architect Katsutoshi Sasaki designed this two-storey house in hanekita for two family living in a residential neighbourhood in Okazaki, Japan“My interest is in how the connection between the individual residence and surrounding public area is reflected to the house plan. In this house’s case there was a park adjacent to the north border of the site, so I wanted to put emphasis on the relationship between the house and the park as an everyday playground for children as well as a borrowing landscape for the house.” explained Katsutoshi Sasaki. “So I put the opening with sliding doors on the north face of the building to secure the continuity of the traffic line and the view, while setting up a wider entrance and level difference so that the residents can enjoy hanami (Cherry blossom viewing) in spring from the interior of the house.”


In addition, the exterior environment is gradually connected to the interior through buffering spaces of the earthen-floor entrance on the north and the private garden on the south. Two households are separated by the volume housing staircase room and storage between east and west, marked off flexibly by sliding doors set on the south side between two households. These doors are often opened during the daytime, making the entire floor a mobile playground where children can freely run around across the households.


The second floor is a residential space for the child’s household. In order to fulfill 13 room demands coexisting while keeping them open to each other, the entire second floor was split into 1-tsubo (about 3.3sqm) grids, bordered by spandrel walls between the rooms. It is also planned to be a pillarless space without view obstructions by the construction project using hanging walls of 1-tsubo grids. Spandrel walls serve as loose barriers, creating a public space overlooking the entire floor when standing up, while securing private rooms hid by the walls when lying or sitting down, enabling one same space have public and private structure at the same time according to postures.


The positioning of all residential rooms along the grids, except the wet area, can be altered with the growth of children, while two inner gardens assume the roles of daylighting and ventilation, connecting the interiors to the agreeable exterior environment with the swaying planting and the natural light.


This plan is focused on the relationship between “The house and the surrounding area”, “Two family households” and “Public and Private in the residential space”. “I was very much delighted to see these families actually live freely across both sides and our ‘proposals of the relationship’ free from any forms or formulas rooted in their life.” said the architect.

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all images courtesy of KATSUTOSHI SASAKI + ASSOCIATES