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PROJECT : House Renovation                     CONSTRUCTION : Kogazo

STATUS : Completed (2019)                        LANDSCAPE : Onshitsu

LOCATION : Tokyo, Japan                             PHOTOGRAPHY : Yasushi Ichikawa

AREA : approx. 100sqm

CLIENTS : Private


 This is the renovation project of the clients’ duplex residence above their dental practice at ground floor within the 3 storeys of the steel structure building built 18 years ago. The three main purposes of the renovation are 1. Improvement of planning originally designed for 2 generation families to fit to a family of three, 2. Improvement of environmental quality of where hot in summer and cold in winter, as well as dark during the daytime, 3. Improvement of spatial quality of current kitsch finishes.

 Exposing existing timber or concrete structure is a sort of common approaches of renovation projects, however it was difficult for this case because of fireproof-coated steel structure and required extra inner-insulation. Key design challenges of interior finishes were how to find convincing logic behind and how to create diversity and depth of layers into a single room.

 Existing residence originally planned for one family per floor with the same facilities at each were rearranged so that the 2nd floor to be public with living & dining space and the 3rd floor to be private with bedroom and bathrooms. Due to the limited budget, the existing layout of the private area was remained as much as possible. Existing partition walls and ceilings on the main floor were demolished in order to utilize large and generous volume for a single room of living & dining with some downstands and beam cover containing existing beams, lighting and equipment.

 Each floor about 80sqm contains 3 tiny balconies and many random windows as per room divisions, although the most of them were always closed by curtains because of the noisy front road and closely built neighbouring buildings, which made the living space dark even during the daytime. Existing unused kitchen located in the middle of the 3rd floor was demolished to be an atrium connecting two floors with operable top light above, which allows natural light into the darkest part of the building as well as natural ventilation for the overall residence by chimney affects.

 Then according to the mostly unpleasant surrounding environment, existing façade openings were re-evaluated and selected. Only balcony with relatively better environment was expanded by demolishing unused bathroom to use it comfortably with a large new window connected to living room, and the rest of unused windows were closed with insulation to avoid heat loss except for ventilation uses or integrated into built-in furniture which moderates the overall appearances as well as controlling the distance to the external environments.

 Functional built-in furniture such as kitchen, desk, bench and shelves are distributed along the perimeter walls together with functional finish materials such as carbonized cork for insulation assigned to specific location, which allows to keep the central space empty as well as to characterize each part of walls uniquely to create diversity of places. Besides, materiality transitions in section as well from dark tone of the lower part to blighter tone of the upper part ending up with the white atrium. Combining the diversity in plan and in section together with natural light, the simple single room is intended to be abundant with variety of haptic-ness and depth of layering.

 This space is hoped to be aging nicely accumulating richness with clients’ lives, where they can feel nature while gathering around the large island kitchen.