Guided Light: Residential Building in Toyokawa
Text: Marion Haider
Despite façades without a single opening and being located on a heavily shaded plot, the residential building by mA-style Architects in Toyokawa is flooded with daylight. Thanks to skilful guiding of sunlight into the building and use of reflective inner walls, the interior is airy and full of light.
Architect: mA-style architects, Japan
Location: Toyokawa-City, Aichi, Japan
The building site is situated on plot shaded to the south by a two-story building right next to it. For this reason the architects Atsushi Kawamoto and Mayumi Kawamoto wanted to create a house that would receive as much daylight as possible for the interior. The building, with its white façade in large wooden panels, initially creates a withdrawn and fairly closed-off impression.
A skylight outlines the roof at the top of the approximately square cube, letting in sunlight to the interior, where it is divided by lower-lying roof beams and reflected and diffused by slightly angled clapboard walls. The soft and evenly distributed light fills the entire inner space and to an extent also frames it.
Kitchen, bathroom and work spaces are set below the outline formed by the skylight. Privacy, seclusion and storage are provided for in four boxes of differing sizes and arranged in seemingly haphazard fashion. The pathways and open spaces formed between them are conceived as communication and public zones.
This "living platform" is set off from the circumferential "work corridor" in terms of height and material by a low wooden plinth that differentiates the private and communal area from the concrete path-like perimeter. The building has no doors apart from the entrance ones, and ladders provide access to the openings on the second level of the box rooms.
The configuration of the interior space is somewhat reminiscent of a small town within a larger one, with the public zones and passageways fulfilling the function of plazas or paths between the cubes grouped around them like small houses. It was in this way that the architects sought to imbue the house with flexibility and a diversity of uses for its occupants.