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House in Miyoshi, Hiroshima by Suppose Design Office.

Exterior perspective.Makoto Tanijiri is a young Japanese architect whose practice, Suppose Design Office, is shooting inexorably upwards. Today we look at two of his recent houses by way of an introduction to his work. Both manage to be radical and both are capable of shocking their audience.

From outside, The House in Miyoshi looks like the scrag-end of a cinema, or perhaps the rear of a theatre that has been extended here and there. It appears to have no windows and it is painted a mid battleship grey. This apparently haphazard character reveals nothing of what goes on inside and one might argue has little relationship to its context.

But then what is its context? It sits by a railway line on the edge of some sprawl next to the most pedestrian and tedious of suburban houses. It might not give much to the site, but it takes nothing away!

It is an introspective house. Something like a quiet man that disturbs nobody, but who gets on with his work. To extend the analogy, we later learn the man is a maths genius... and now we begin to understand the house in Miyoshi.

In plan, the house appears to be an irregular star shape. That form looks inconvenient, and as though it has simply been vertically extruded to create the house. Entering from the street via an unassuming door at the head of a couple of steps, it does not look promising...

But step inside, and it is as though you can suddenly understand those beautiful equations in the mind of the unassuming genius. A surprisingly dynamic double height central space has two staircases and rooms off in all directions, though without any sense of chaos or even loss of control.

There are gallery spaces overlooking the central space with “rooms” behind. The space is bright. There are windows all around, but where are they on the exterior elevation? Its a form of magic!

The grey walls of the exterior are now white, or almost so. The floors are wide-board hardwood and the kitchen is stainless steel. The architect keeps a tight grip on the material palate.

I do not imagine the house is easy to live in. It seems to demand a certain discipline, even an effort from its occupants. But there is no doubt that it repays the effort many times over.

Visit the house in Tousuien.

House with trains.

The central space.

Shot of dining area.

Lower lounge.

Two stairs.

Gallery looking down.

The kitchen.

A sleeping area perhaps.

 Late evening shot.

 

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