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House in Takatsuki, Tato Architects, Osaka

Next level: House in Takatsuki by Tato Architects

Local planning requirements meant that the house was not able to cover more than half of the 114-square-metre plot. The planners accordingly concentrated on vertical structuring for the building, and without further ado divided the structure into stepped floors, thus achieving almost 100 square metres of living space for the Japanese family. In plan the result resembles a simple rectangle with two corners cut away, and retains a six-sided shape as it continues upwards.

The design of the residential building is based on a diagonal grid that divides the various areas into triangular sections, whereby the difference in levels is overcome in each case by two steps, thus setting the individual areas apart. This forms large living areas in certain cases; in others the sections simply consist of small secluded niches. Two circulation paths starting out at different points on the ground floor spiral upwards, converging at the central dining and living area before finally ending at the roof terrace. An intricate, cave-like labyrinth is the result. But there is no point in looking for doors, separating walls or even stairs in the ‘House in Takatsuki’, as the staggered floors are the only means of dividing space. Direct sightlines within the building are only possible between any two adjacent areas, thus ensuring a certain degree of privacy despite the open character of the interior.

The seemingly simple residence is completely built of wood. All the facades are clad in black timber. In combination with the slender dark window frames, this makes the polyhedron almost inconspicuous in effect. A palette of uniform materials has been used by Tato Architects to unify the unconventional interior spaces and provide them a sense of cohesion, as evidenced by the floors in wood complemented by walls of white. At some places a platform or step connects two different levels; in others a table seamlessly segues into the floor of the next higher space. All of the rooms are airy and friendly in effect and make the small house with its special interior concept seem bigger than it actually is. The result will put anyone in the mood to make themselves at home on one of the 16 levels.

Further information:

Planning: Yo Shimada, Akira Yasuda
Statics: Takashi Manda Structural Design
Construction: Shokenkikaku/ Naoki Sasahara

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