A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE, MICROCLIMATE, STRUCTURE, WINDOWS OF NEIGHBORING HOUSES, AND BEHAVIOR OF THE QUARTET CREATE COMFORT
We designed our own residence and office on a narrow lot in the heart of the city where old and new streets are mixed together. Since it is in front of a train station and has the potential to be used for a variety of purposes, we thought we should create a place whereabouts rather than a house. It is a comfortable place to live that will continue to exist even after it leaves our hands and changes its use and owner.
As a method of creating a place to live, we did not construct the space itself, but tried to consciously embody each of the casual behaviors of people and make the space stand up. The form used in this project was the bay window.
We focused on the fact that the legal dimension system for bay windows in Japan is furniture-like.
The width of the bay window must be 500mm, the rise from the floor must be at least 300mm, and the upper frame of the window must rise from the ceiling. The bay window is treated as a piece of furniture, and by wrapping it around the entire floor and laminating it, a furniture-like boundary is created around the building. Sitting, laying down, washing hands, cooking, bathing, writing, and many other daily activities can be done with the bay windows.
In addition, as a fate of a narrow lot, when a new building is constructed, a wall stands in front of the window of the neighboring house, making it difficult to breathe. We thought about how to create a form that would bring comfort to the neighboring houses as well. By dropping the corners of the building at 45 degrees and creating pockets of vacant land at the four corners of the site, we were able to secure the behavior of the windows of the neighboring houses and allow them to enjoy light and wind. The simulation also confirmed that the octagonal shape of the building has less negative impact on the surrounding wind environment than a regular rectangular building.
In order to create a comfortable place, we observed the behavior of the microclimate, including the surrounding environment, and found that there were three types of windows: a light window for light, a wind window for ventilation, a wall window that should block both heat and wind, and a bay window. The three types of windows were placed so that the light, wind, and heat conditions would be most effective, but the heat load would still be high in some areas in mid-summer and mid-winter, so it was decided to reduce the heat load by externally insulating the exterior with carbonized cork, which is lightweight, has high heat insulation properties, absorbs sound, and does not deteriorate.
The carbonized cork used for the exterior walls is an environmentally friendly material that does not use chemical substances, as it is solidified by the sap exuded by pressing the bark of the cork oak when it is produced. In the past, it was produced domestically as a heat insulator for refrigerators, but now there are no domestic production manufacturers, and it was imported from overseas. We are currently discussing with domestic cork manufacturers to re-produce the material, and we hope that this construction will accelerate the trend of re-production and contribute to the global environment.
The structure is steel-framed, and the vertical and seismic forces are decomposed, with the seismic forces borne entirely by the bay window frames. The polyhedron in plan and cross-section allows for a full opening on one side, but the eccentricity is suppressed by the fact that the opposite sides are not parallel, giving the three bay windows free rein in their placement.
The lifespan of an architecture is longer than that of a human being. If it is to live for a long time, we want the changes over time to become the charm of the architecture. Therefore, we decided to use materials that change over time as much as possible and show various expressions day by day. Carbonized cork gradually loses its color and becomes rounded with its corners removed. Since it is porous, seeds flying from somewhere else may implant and sprout. The interior is mainly made of wood, with plastered walls containing mica, and iron parts painted with Mica paint, which also contains mica, becoming dull and shiny over time. We wanted to create an architecture that would live on as a part of this cityscape.
It is a cozy bay window tower residence created by the four elements of human behavior, microclimate behavior, structural behavior, and the behavior of the neighboring house’s windows.
Studio NameTakaaki Fuji + Yuko Fuji Architecture
Lead designerTakaaki Fuji, Yuko Fuji
Design teamTomonori Kawata as a Structural engineer, Atsushi Mitsui as a Lighting designer, Po LLC as an environmental consultant