a+u Architecture and Urbanism Magazine

Satoko Saeki K.M. Tan Familiar House

The property is in Sendagi, which is a place where there appears to be no clear difference in the definitions of town and architecture. Thus, the architecture of the house does not have definite borders.

Housing in this environment takes its horizontal form from the shape of land plots beyond the main streets – they are long and narrow. The stories of houses are themselves long, narrow single rooms, and by opening and closing internal sliding doors, the spaces can be divided and changed according to use.

The floors have single steps inserted here and there, and with the slight gap between the steps and the sliding doors, the rooms do not form perfect cubes, even when the doors are closed. These closed spaces are not “rooms” – that is, they have no set function; with the tolerance that arises from this gap, the spaces can instead be used freely in the arrangement of furniture to the temporal and seasonal environment.

In addition to the main stairs from the ground to the ceiling, an extra staircase from the second floor to the third gives the interior a strolling quality, further increasing the freedom of the interior spaces.

The building is set back 1.090 m from the street, and continuing from the interior, the terrace (35 cm above ground level) functions as an extended bench, both fundamental elements of this neighborhood. The house proposes an incremental, novel take on the terrace and balcony elements of the area. The exterior wall in cream-painted corrugated sheet steel also responds to the surrounding environment. In order to improve access to the street for the southern neighbors, an alley was added to the east side of the property for them to go out through the house’s mini kitchen.