a+u Architecture and Urbanism Magazine

Go Hasegawa House in Yokohama

The plot is on a steep incline with an open view to the south; the approach is up about seven meters from street to the west, passing a dense thicket. It is in the city of Yokohama, which has a varied topography with many cliffs. Because of this, the property is accessed by steep steps; there is a large retaining wall, seven meters high, along the property line facing the road. While this sort of site is commonly seen throughout Japan, the designers were perturbed by the indiscriminately constructed retaining wall. Despite this, having taken a liking to the approach running up through the overgrown wooded tunnel, they decided to leave the old house and hilly site as is.

Looking from the kitchen, over the southern garden, towards the urban landscape. From the access on the west, the entrance opens halfway around the building, with an opening kept at about 1.8 meters high, controlling the building’s center of gravity while bringing in the horizontally expansive view. The columns in the middle of the four walls fit in between the two columns of the second-story partitions. The ceiling is about 4 meters high.

The second story takes a 2×2 square grid plan; the partitioning walls dividing the rooms are crossed by structural trusses, minimizing the size of the members. The trusses run from the floor at the center of the walls, extending upwards at 45 degrees to the opposite corners of the top of the walls, marking the extent of each room. The walls are 2.235 meters high, with openings 68.5 cm wide; the ceiling height is 2.415 meters.