House H is located in Matsudo, Chiba – just outside of Tokyo and the young couple that live their had initially given a brief to Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects to build a family home that symbolized hope for the future. With this in mind the architects began with the concept of a large roof as a symbol of living and designed the rest of the residence around this symbol. From the roof the design quickly evolved into a support structure of 8 laminated wooden posts in the shape of large Ys with their centres filled in with plasterboard, the second storey volume and 3rd level lofts would be supported by these expansive Ys. The Façade of House H hints at the first Y post via the angular void within the exterior wall that frames the main entrance. Creating a commonality in design the diamond shaped window repeats the angle of the void.
The void in the facade is fitted with window glazing and within the glazing is the framework for the sliding glass doors that constitute the entrance. The sides of the residence and the roof create 1 continuous plane that defines what is the wall and what is the roof via the bends in the structure and the complete unit perches quietly on a raised concrete pad.
4 trees have been planted as an extension of the fence and over time they will grow tall, providing both privacy and shade.
Just inside the sliding glass doors is the foyer – or terrace. The foyer is overlooked by the kitchen so that the young mother of the home has easy access to the outdoors for barbequing. The concrete pad the home is perched on transforms into the floor of the foyer, but the rest of the main level is comprised of oak flooring 3 steps up.
From the foyer the volume of the interior zones is apparent. The large Y posts create a marching element throughout the space with the second and third levels creating a staggered multilevel feature of solid planes and open voids. The over all affect is one of continual motion and connectivity. Wherever you are in this home, it is a simple matter of peering over the edge to communicate with others in different locations.
While the parents might be upstairs on the second level, they can easily communicate with their young children down below.
All areas of the main level are connected visually to the upper zones.
and all areas revolve around the kitchen. The kitchen is centrally located as part of the client’s original brief. They wanted a home where family life was integral and flowed naturally around a kitchen hub. From the kitchen the entire main level is visible allowing the homeowners to be in touch with their young children as the move around making communication with the children easy and spontaneous.
Beside the kitchen is the living area. Here an unassuming door also allows access to the outdoors and the Y posts take on an additional design feature of eventually framing the furniture. With some of the Ys filled in with plasterboard and some left open, the posts are left with a light and airy feel rather then being heavy and imposing.
The architects hope that the Y posts will be amalgamated into the young family’s life by hanging mementos off of the structures and marking the height of their child as it grows up. The Ys then become not just a part of the home, but a part of the family as well.
The Y posts are made with bonded woods 3.5″ in width and length and the pale tones of the Ys are in keeping with the oak flooring,the kitchen cabinetry and the ceiling over the dining area. These unified wood tones create a balance within a busy visual of posts, Ys and lofts.
The busy structure of open and closed Ys and varying levels of lofts creates a home of many compositions much the same as what naturally occurs in a treed landscape of evergreens and deciduous trees. Some trees are bare, and some are fully dressed in green. Some trees are tall and narrow while others have a dense canopy that blocks the skyward views.
Even the stairwell, as basic as it is, offers an interesting composition of planes as its balustrade stretches for the ceiling and presents a pass through to access the tatami area on the left.
On the second level the private zones are revealed. Here the Master bedroom is closed off from the hallway via a row of sliding screens.
The children’s bedroom is more closed off then the rest of the area for safety reasons, but a loft up above is as open as the rest.
The tatami area while not closed of is a quiet place to reflect.
The lofts are not closed off and are accessed via ladders.
The lofts are flooded with light from the series of 3 skylights in the big roof.
While the floor plan shows the living area in the back of the home and the dining beside the kitchen, the homeowners chose to flip the two spaces, preferring to thave the dining in the back.
The upper level is accessed via the stairwell with the tatami room on one side and the Master Bedroom on the other. The children’s bedroom is accessed through the Master Bedroom. One loft is over the tatami zone and the other is over the children’s room.
Photography by Fumihiko Ikemoto