Japanese architects – Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop designed “Unfinished House” Situated in the small city of Kashiwa, as it’s known, is also remarkably free of interior walls inside. This house was imagined as an adaptable space that the inhabitants design by living in it. The building is composed of four boxes each divided into two storeys and organized around a central space, angled to provide natural external views.
Initially the brief was geared towards the occupations and the hobbies of the couple. Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop planned a space that could accommodate an increasing assortment of clothing and hobbies. In addition, the couple’s first child was born during the design process so accommodating a growing family was also taken into consideration.
Rather than imposing the architects own space plan for the house, they let the client sift through different ideas and assess their own needs together in a hands-on study. The first point they decided was that the house should allow for flexibility within daily life, without defining or limiting the future of the family.
The architects presented a building made by arranging 4 boxes, each divided into 2 ‘layers,’ around a central space in which the family can gather that acts as a hub inside the home. With the client, they brainstormed different layouts for the boxes by moving them around in a model setting. During the study it was possible to determine an angle and position for each box such that every corner of the house can be clearly seen from the kitchen area. As a result, the first ‘layer’ of each box serves a function such as a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and workspace. The second ‘layer’ of each box is left unfinished to be adapted to suit new hobbies, wardrobes or even new family members in the future.
One achievement of this ‘study’ was that they decided to leave the specifics of the children’s room up to the child to design.
By not simply planning a space according to a particular set of requests, but by exploring these requests in more depth and leading the client to a greater understanding of them during the design led to a house that will fulfill a more useful role in their lives.
Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop:
A “container” that changes as you design and live in it, and design it, on top of the challenge of living in such a house must continue to give you the pleasure of living there. Clothes, kitchen goods and other things related to their hobbies can be freely placed, and their living space can be filled with things that promote enjoyment and happiness in their lives.
During the design stage, a new addition to their family arrived to add to the enjoyment of their home. Without defining or limiting the future possibilities of this family, we designed a house that allows for flexibility within their daily lives, such as hobbies and family.
The construction of the building is made by forming 4 boxes, each box divided into 2 layers around a central space which acts as the hub of the home in which the family gathers. The first layer of each box functions as the kitchen, bedroom, plumbing area, and work space.
The second layer has intentionally been left blank so the areas can create space suitable for their increasing hobbies, or wardrobes or a children’s room. Particularly the children’s room should be left up to the child to design. Each space meets the minimum size required for the designated function, such as the kitchen and bathroom, by 910 modules.
They act as not rooms but function spaces and the central hub is an open ceiling space where the 4 boxes, each with a function contributing to their daily lives are gathered around this central space. Without limiting it to 910 modules, I positioned the angle of the central space and boxes so that from all windows the view is of trees or the sky, not the neighbouring house or their windows. Also the angle between the kitchen and adjacent boxes on both layers allows a clear view from the kitchen to the box, especially in the event that the box is used as a children’s room.
This house, born of long, fruitful discussions with the client creates a space where I hope the family and the building itself can grow close together.
Project name: Unfinished House
Location: Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan
- Type By Characteristic: Japanese House, Modern House
- Type By Site: City / Town House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Wooden House
Structure: Wooden construction
Floor Area: 107.63 sqm
Site Area: 70.32 sqm
Completion Year: 2015
Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects: Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop – Suzumori Bldg 4F, 3-12-7, Higashinihombashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-0004, JAPAN
Structural Design: ASD / Ryuji Tabata, Takayuki Tabata
Text Description: © Courtesy of Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop
Images: © Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop, Naoomi Kurozumi