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Photography studio in Kanagawa by FT Architects


The Light Sheds is a photographer’s studio designed by FT Architects that stands in the garden of his existing house, located in Kanagawa, in the southern Kantō region of Japan. The space is solely composed of essential functions required for a photographic studio and the result is one single room of 4.5m by 7.2m.


The Tokyo-based studio used a timber frame construction and a multi-faceted gable roof to create the largest possible volume on a tight budget. However, a gable roof would typically entail horizontal joists, which would reduce the clear height required for photo shoots. Following simple geometric rules, the roof was distorted into a multi-facetted, asymmetric form.


Three ridge beams at the folding lines support the roof structure, negating the need for any horizontal members that may compromise the height of the room. Logs were selected for the ridge beams, for their ability to accommodate the complex assembly of timber rafters at various angles. Translucent polycarbonate panels reveal the “back of the stage set” timber framework of the walls.


Like artists’ ateliers, photographic studios require ample ambient light. Direct sunlight creates overly strong contrasts that would result in unnatural portraits. A combination of skylights at 45 degrees and a clerestory let in diffused light from two different angles from above. Together with the wide windows on the side facing onto the lush garden, the interior, although enclosed, is always as bright as the external environment. It has the duality of being both outside and in, blurring the conventional architectural boundaries.

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all images © SHIGEO OGAWA