a+u Architecture and Urbanism Magazine

Takashi Fujino House in Kaizawa

The designer spent eight years to design and a year and a half to implement the remodeling of his own thirty-eight-year-old house. It was remodeled to maintain a continuity between past and present and to be able to further improve upon in the future. Understanding architecture as the boundary encircling an area inside a certain expanse, the designer was able to grasp in the design process what it is to feel the expanses of space, time and one’s mental impression thereof.

The expanse of space is dealt with taking hold of the sensations of distance by bringing in continuities between far and near, such as between the house’s interior, garden, farm plots, hedges, the neighboring houses, the other side, places just a bit off the center, the streetscape, clouds, mountains and the sky.

The expanse of time is dealt with making the ruptures between past and present ambiguous, by reusing old materials, painting over old and new surfaces all the same, blending together details by the architect and carpenter, continuously showing different materials together, etc.

The expanse of impression is dealt with by leaving the positions of markers of the original house such as stairs and hallways as they were, so as to not allow the feeling of the house to which one’s body is accustomed to vanish. The most symbolic part of existing house, the entrance was kept with the old finish as a storage space, setting it aside as an introspective place for the family to face their possessions.

In order to balance old and new materials, expressing a continuity between past and present, the house is finished in a white gradation from bottom to top. Also, the house is made to be easily improved with fabric, paint and plywood. Cheesecloth is used for the partitions around the stairwell, allowing light from the skylight to reach each room. The number of layers of cheesecloth for each partition customized individually to adjust visibility.

The central part of the roof, the first and second story flooring were removed, creating a double-paned skylight (tempered glass and laminated glass); the floor is finished with decomposed granite screening. The members of the skylight’s metal frame are 10 cm wide, matching the interior wooden frame. The exterior wall has a silver finish. The structure is reinforced with new turnbuckle braces.