Tatsumi Apartment House
Hiroyuki Ito Architects’ Tatsumi Apartment House is a ten-story residential building in Tokyo with a small footprint and a regular concrete frame that nevertheless yields a variety of interior configurations. Tatsumi Apartement House expresses the Japanese traditional manners for a contemporary minimal lifestyle featuring by essential furnished interiors.
“The site faces not only a wide street with heavy traffic but also a subway station. We thought wasn’t appropriate to adopt steel structurebecause of noisy neighborhood, even though the towering ratio was close to 5. Adopting RC structure, columns and beams might becometoo unwieldy objects in asmall room whose area is 30 square meters or more. But if the spaces between columns and beams could be considered as niches that would provide cozy rooms that protect the inhabitants from noise and vibrations.” – Hiroyuki Ito Architects
A number of six columns structure instead fourwas adopted in order to keep thestructure smaller as to create between them asuitable space for a comfortable living.
The sizes of the structural members become smaller processing to the upper floor in order to reduce the drawing force of earth anchor during earthquake.
This reduction of structural members varies the depth of the niches inversely proportionallycompared to the distance from the noisy ground.
The width of the column is twice wide, large as the shoulder width whereas the beam height is almost west-high in lower floors, enough to enfold a human body as in a small cave. On the other hand, in the upper floor the thin columns and small beams create an expansive sheltered room.
The dimensions areslightly adjusted so that they could be used as benches, low tables, bed spaces, and tables. Anyhow we tried to avoid one to one correspondence of use with each gap,as we considered preferable if the inhabitantsthemselves actively use them sizing by their bodies.
Hiroyuki Ito Architects:
Located in Tokyo center, close to waterfront of Tokyo bay the ten storey building is a cuboide structure characterized by stunning compact plan of 48 – facing wide congested streets crossing beside high way. The stacked tight volume crafted by polished concrete façade resembles an assembling of multi volumes piled one above the other. Internally the tower is composed by commercial space, flats and duplex options designed to accommodate different lifestyles, for both single dwellers and young couples. Because of noise disturbance of Tokyo center and vibrations from contiguous metro station, a reinforced concrete structure was preferred, solving in a very versatile way the narrow space between columns and beams. Feature such as “engawa”, literally “side verandah”, hallmark statement of traditional Japanese architecture was adopted to design a sunken living space surrounded by a sitting zone sometimes closed like an alcove.
Size of structural members become smaller processing to upper floors so that depth of sunken spaces decrease inversely-proportional compared to the distance from noisy avenue. Meanwhile apartments from second to ninth floor offer different depths of recessed spaces, last floor expands flatly, opening a wide view above neighborhood through full-height windows. Openings widen proceeding to upper floors, better perceived from interior since width of columns decrease in upper floors. The inner space invite lounging anywhere according to Japanese predisposition for low/ground level. A similar tatami fabric was adopted for lower floor to comfortably sitting on.
Various ways of using sunken space is up to dwellers and to specific measures of depth on each floor. Each apartment was designed to be sustainable in terms of function, being extremely flexible to arrange the living zones but also versatile to be used even as office or studio. Zone around sunken space may be used as bench, bed, table and backrest accommodating activities such as sitting room, relax zone, kitchen and bed room. Recessed zones of each apartment were designed to be intimate core which gives owners the gateway from the noisy outdoor enfolding space around inhabitants where simply rest comfortably.
Concerning structural technique concrete structure upon steel structure was preferred in order to defeat noise pollution and earth vibrations from nearby metro station. Adopting RC structure, columns and beams might become too wide objects in such modest sized room of 34 square meters. To keep the high living standard required by client we partitioned off space to create pleasant man-size niches. So a number of six columns instead four were adopted in order to preserve the structure smaller and arrange in between a simple space in light wood, properly illuminated, to sit or laid back.
Rooms are so divided horizontally, increasing thinner vertical structural members, and vertically creating a different size of sunken spaces. Columns depth around recessed zones become twice wider, letting inhabitants lean on, whereas beams height is almost west-high in lower floors, enough to enfold human body as in a small cave. On the other hand, in the upper floors the thin columns and small beams create wide open space rooms.
The dimensions are slightly adjusted so that may be used as benches, storage and low table of 450 mm high, standard tables of 690 mm high and bed space. The structure is formed by nine 30 meters lengths concrete piles which were settled under foundation and steel cables of 50 meters lengths anchored to slab foundation. Enormous engineering project was designed to contrast drawing forces during earthquake.
Interiors were clad in natural timber irregular in color and pattern as its nature according to Japanese taste for natural materials. Exposed concrete of walls was slightly polished to reveal a more irregular color texture. Chromatic harmony between the various elements contributes to create an airy atmosphere as well as the continuity between small spaces slightly differentiated such as direction of parquet slabs.
Project name: Tatsumi Apartment House
Location: Koto, Tokyo, Japan
Coordinates: 35.673241, 139.795166
Program: Housing Complex and Shop
Site area: n/a
- Total Area: 59.49 sqm
- Building Area: 47.97 sqm
- Total Floor Area: 388.28 sqm
Project Year/Period: 2009-2014
Construction Year/Period: 2009-2014
Groundbreaking: November 29, 2008
Status: Built, Completed, Ongoing
Cost/Budget: $129 million
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
- Hiroyuki Ito Architects – 14 Araki-cho Shinjuku-ku Tokyo, Japan 160-0007
Project designer: Hiroyuki Ito
- Structural Engineer: Jun Sato structural engineering
- Facility design: Eos Plus + Yutaka Murase
Text Description: © Courtesy of Hiroyuki Ito Architects
Images: © Hiroyuki Ito Architects, Masao Nishikawa