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House in Toyonaka by Tato Architects

Shinkenchiku Sha

With his design for House in Toyonaka, Yo Shimada, founder of Tato Architects, wanted to give more importance to secondary elements like staircases, balustrades and windows. The query was to find out whether it is possible to create space that has quality of, so to speak, dynamic abstractness, enabling space to all the more get settled when activities and things are mixed with the space and objects are flooded there.


Having a left over, unbuilt triangular plot in its neighboring land and an agricultural land across the street, the site was relatively open. The client requested a house there, in which they can live comfortably protecting their privacy appropriately. The site is narrow and long, irregular-shaped and sloped. The area is enforced with strict wall-setback restriction and also had a shadow regulation. Under the limitations, Shimada considered creating stretch of space by using mitigation of the regulation that permits decks and eaves to protrude over setback lines.


Exempted from the shadow regulation, the eaves height was decided to be less than 7 meters. The volume resulted in two-stories above the ground and one underground story. The part above the ground is sliced into seven layers, shifted, stacked and eliminated to create deep pleated exterior appearance. The shifted volumes function as balconies, eaves and windows outside, while the level gaps generated by the shift work as a desk, landings and shelves inside. From the windows created in-between stripes, nearby bushes, a series of tiled roofs are framed horizontally.

“In this way, we aimed to achieve dynamic abstractness, in which the architectural design, residents’ properties, surrounding landscape and the stacked shifted volumes are mixed,” explains the architect.

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all images © Shinkenchiku Sha