Text description provided by the architects. This residence is for five families of a couple and three children in Aisai City of western Aichi Prefecture. It was built within a corner of a large site adjacent to a plot of the main house. Since urbanization in this area is controlled, the surrounding plots were by consequence largely empty; because the environment lacked a clear context, the resultant building was designed as an extremely simple geometric shape.
The main volume is a roughly 8.2-meter cube made of a nine-grid, three-story steel structure. What enables this rigid shape is a structure made from latticed steel H-beams, foundation and braces, as well as eight slender steel pillars supporting the vertical load in the center and four corners of the building. This steel frame rests lightly on a concrete base. After considering the relationship between the main house and existing garden, we positioned the volume to line up with the north-south absolute axis. We created an entrance and porch, a set of steps extending from the podium, parking lot in the empty space between the building and frontal road, and several new garden areas in the spaces bordering the perimeter of the site.
Within this cubic volume, on the exterior of the completely internalized spaces, we inserted three large semi-outdoor spaces. The interior aluminum sash panels and exterior translucent polycarbonate folding doors can be opened and closed, creating dynamic indoor and outdoor environments: an intermediary region that allows for flexible space usage. On the first floor is the pre-existing garden and spaces relating to it. The second floor contains areas for looking out at the main house and the many trees and shrubs growing throughout the site; with a cross-sectional connection from the first floor. The third floor is for enjoying a view over the higher reaches of the surrounding area, as well as more distant scenery. Of course, these semi-outdoor spaces act as feelers toward objects and goings-on in the surrounding area, but we also hope that as dense air spaces they will draw in gentle light and breeze, while regulating the thermal environment.
By the way, we utilized galvanized steel sheet and polycarbonate corrugated sheets for the building’s exterior finish. This was our way of responding to the numerous residences, storehouses and factories in the region which make use of materials such as metal plates and galvanized sheet iron. In the same way, the garden stone and concrete block wall we used for the exterior were the result of our reflections on the subject of industrial vernacular.