Kentaro Kurihara and Miho Iwatsuki House in Yanagibata

House in Yanagibata is a dispersed collection of 26 volumes, ranging from 2-4 tatami mats in size, that contain programming for a hairdresser's studio and the needs of a small family. The mat project, designed by studio velocity, is situated at an intersection in a residential neighborhood within Okazaki city, in front of a pre-existing bus stop and adjacent to a rice field.

Imagined as a garden of many rooms, composed of interior and exterior conditions of similar scales, the project is organized around a diagonal axis that runs south-east through the site. This axis separates the 8 volumes that constitute the hairdresser studio from the residential spaces, which are set further back from the intersection. The “hairdressing” volumes modestly engage the larger neighborhood, through their organization around the municipal bus stop and the providing of a vegetated space, equipped with a canopy and garden chairs, for lingering commuters and prospective clients.

The residential programming of the project is arranged around a continuous internal space that connects a deconstructed living room to the bedrooms, a kitchen, a washroom, and a library. A glazed dining room, situated in the center of this cluster of spaces, is the only conditioned space within the residence that contains no load-bearing walls. This social core instead relies on a load transference to the adjoining kitchen and child’s room—a simulacrum of a unified assembly produced through disparate architectural relations. Additionally, its 3.25m ceiling height, substantial in respect to its 5.46m2 floor area, allows for an abundance of daylighting and visual integration with the exterior.

The fragmentation of the project’s programming over the lot encourages fluid mobility, and reflects the owners’ interests in both distorting and extending the physical boundaries of a home. In the immediate vicinity of the site, a neighboring residence offers piano lessons to the neighborhoods’ children, who often run through the garden on their way to and from them—an early indication of the porous environment’s effect on the surrounding city.

Location