Architects Ryumei Fujiki and Yukiko Sato of F.A.D.S have completed the renovation of a 21-year old house in Fukui, Japan. Originally designed to withstand heavy snowfall, the building is articulated by a folding plate of concrete, giving its name, ‘Continuous Plate House’. This latest intervention, which was completed in August 2019, has been recently selected as the Bronze A’ Design Award Winner in the Interior Space and Exhibition Design Category.
The project by F.A.D.S focuses on the first floor of the house. The brief for the renovation was to convert the existing kitchen area, which included a breakfast nook and food storage area, into a multipurpose and cozy family kitchen. In addressing that mandate, the food storage area and corridors were eliminated, resulting in a wide-open kitchen concept. The wall-mounted sink was replaced with a centered, island-style unit, making it a more accessible and functional part of the kitchen.
The original house is formed by a folded plate reinforced by a supporting rectangular concrete box. The outer surface of the box is finished with concrete cast in cedar board formwork, providing it with an external wooden texture. In order to further strengthen the design concept at completion, the full interior of the box, which envelops the kitchen area, was given a wood finish.
A primary focus of the original project, Continuous Plate House 1.0, was to achieve a design that responded efficiently to heavy snowfall. In response to research suggesting that wind patterns would prevent snow accumulation from resting in place, the architects opted for a flat roof without a parapet, which was adopted when the house began construction in 1999.
The original project embraced box-form architecture, which presented a challenge to the 2.0 design in terms of breaking free from that concept. Nevertheless, through trial and error, F.A.D.S created a composition that seems to connect the floor, wall and roof in one single bending plate.