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Suzuko Yamada daita2019

A designer’s home and studio, Suzuko Yamada Architects’ "daita2019" is located at the fork of an intersection in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood. The enclosed portion of the project—a three-level structure accommodating the needs of a couple, their parents, and their children—is arranged across the northeast half of its polygonal site, while the southwest half is constituted by a garden and an assemblage of prefabricated, industrial materials.

The barium-plated residence and office are constructed of a timber frame, and organized into a basement and two above-ground levels. The basement, located 900mm below the garden, contains the office, as well as a washroom, toilet, and bedroom; the first floor a living room, study, and second bedroom; the second floor—a double-height space—contains the project’s kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom. The exterior garden can be accessed from both the living room and the second floor’s master bedroom and dining room.

The garden and exterior assemblage were designed to function as an interface for the neighborhood, one that provides both privacy and supporting spaces for the activities of daily life. So far, this has meant an open-air drying space, an oversized bike rack, an outdoor dining room, and a platform to harvest produce ranging from blueberries to sedge flower. The assemblage, a visual hybrid between scaffolding and gorilla settlements in Virunga National Park, is comprised of a stair and two terraces—of steel mesh and wide flange beams— set into a structure of hollow steel tubing, 48-60mm in diameter.

Some of the single-tube piping can be easily attached and detached via clamps, allowing it to be modified according to the needs of daily life —such as changing the size of the terrace entrance, making a handrail, or creating space for additional plantings. In the project’s interior, the stairs and handrails are made of the same materials as the structural columns and braces. The staircase from the dining room to the master bedroom uses steel tubing with a diameter of 48.6mm, which is also used in the garden, while the stairs from the dining room to the living room use a 105mm piece of larch. Iron pipes employed inside the building further the relationship between the materiality of the interior and exterior.

The project contains no single, designated entrance. The northeast facade is primarily made-up of operable sashes of aluminum, wood, and steel, as well as sliding and single windows, allowing for a fluid relationship to exist between the project’s interior and exterior spaces. The exterior stair allows guests and the family’s children to climb through the garden to the dining terrace, while an industrial-grade steel door at the ground level allows for further extension into the garden and neighborhood. At the intersection of the dining room and the facade, a 1,300mm x 4,030mm steel sash allows the adjacent terrace to become a dining venue on temperate evenings.

The family that inhabits the project have made an almost daily routine out of opening the residence to the surrounding city and enjoying breakfast and dinner on the terraces. A sunshade is in the process of being installed between steel pipes, and plants are growing almost wildly on the terraces—the project continues to change its shape.