This is the residence of an industrial designer couple in their 20s.
The lot is situated in a typical suburban housing development in Japan, among an array of terraced modest sites. The majority of the houses in the development are of prefabricated, two-story construction, seemingly disconnected from their surroundings. I chose a different creation path from those houses because I rather admired the character of the lot with its optimum solar exposure, distant scenic view, and access from the road via pre-existing exterior stairs. By linking those assets closely to the architecture, I attempted to generate an ideal living environment for the designer occupants that would maintain their tranquility, yet stir their creativity. I call this home Zen House.
The building’s structure is a mere 11 square meters wide, its one-story height reinforced concrete. The interior finishes, as well as the exterior ones, remain exposed concrete without cladding. As a result of constraining the architectural composition to a minimum, the house has been streamlined to implement an extremely effective design. It draws attention to the beauty of natural elements, highlights scenic charm, and smoothly integrates human creation with the larger environment. In particular, the water court planned for outdoor meditation acts as a significant trigger to enhance the lure of the house. The water court surfaces, that is, the walls, floors, eaves, and even the water itself, reveal delicate impressions of shadow, transforming winds into visible moiré patterns, and reflecting varied indoor and outdoor scenes. The void above the court allows the whole ceiling of the Zen House to expand, giving the impression that the ceiling expands to the sky. Moreover, the architectural plan that positioned the court within the heart of the house frees endless layers of space and location sequences. Such design also creates an efficient and flexible area for living.
When entering this house, against the backdrop of a striking view and through a front door reminiscent of a nijiri, one’s expectations increase that such a dramatic architectural experiment diminishes the stress of a busy life. Upon stepping into this house, one can indeed discover the ideal place to rest easy. You begin to feel more you. The physical building may be as static as concrete and its other materials, but Zen House also feels active, without limits, on or off the premises, a place that is spiritually free. （ Ryuich Furumoto ）
Structural engineer： Takeo Sakuga
Constructor Firm： Kenchiku Kobo Sunsun
Structural system： reinforced concrete
Site area： 180.31 ㎡
Built area： 97.52 ㎡ ／ Building coverage ratio：54.08%
Total floor area：97.52 ㎡／ Floor area ratio：54.08%
Major exterior finishing： exposed concrete trowel finish,
Major interior finishing： exposed concrete, tatami