Japanese firm Atelier Tekuto designed this house in central Tokyo for a couple of chemists by using a 100% recyclable concrete. “We want to see exposed concrete finish inside and out. A challenging piece of architecture that is at the same time environmentally friendly,” explain the owners. After an initial design concept and extensive research into material properties, the home was completed within two and a half years.
The way of building architecture respectfully towards nature and the environment in high density residential districts in Tokyo is to build towards the “sky”. It is the only direction with a true feeling of the vastness of nature. To form a strong connection with the sky, the corner of the house was pruned away at an angle. This action, cutting away the internal volume, paradoxically creates a sense of spaciousness in the continuous four story space inside.
Atelier Tekuto developed a 100% recyclable concrete which, instead of sand, contains shirasu, the deposit of pyroclastic flow of volcanic ash which is found in the Southern parts of Japan in abundance. The advantage of this concrete is its strength and durability that increases to grow over a long period of time because of the pozzolanic reaction of shirasu. Also its density, which comes from the fine granularity of shirasu, protects the concrete from neutralization. Shirasu also contains micro closed-cells which gives the concrete humidity control and deodorizing qualities. “This development and use of shirasu concrete can be a huge asset to those areas where SHIRASU can be excavated,” explain architects.
For architecture on a small site, sectional and volumetric design becomes very important. A high level sound insulated audio visual room in the basement, and a spacious gallery and a Japanese room is placed on the first floor. Functionality was prioritized on the second floor with a living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. The living room is a very small space, but a 5m high ceiling and a large oblique triangular window, drawing in an abundance of external light, results in a cognition that is far greater than the reality.
all images courtesy of Atelier Tekuto