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Lapping it up: House in Yokohama City, Japan, by EANA.

Photos: Koichi Torimura.

“Backland”sites, as this type of plot is known, all suffer from similar disadvantages. Firstly, they are overlooked by the backs of surrounding properties. Secondly, other buildings may be built around you, affecting your light and views. Finally the street connecting you to the main road becomes something like an umbilical chord with the implication that whatever vehicle enters the site must be able to turn before it can leave again. EANA, acknowledged each of these apparent restrictions, and turned them to advantage to create an inward looking home based on the box inside a box, inside a box principle.

The private universe that has resulted is richly layered and spatially complex.

The need for a car to turn carves into the available foot print for the building. With great skill the architects have used this to create a wide entrance that speaks of hospitality and generosity towards visitors. As this entrance cuts through the layers of space, a tantalizing glimpse into the heart of the house seems to draw you in.

Around the perimeter of the house is a layer of rooms and open gallery spaces. These are separated in plan from an inner box rendered in untreated timber. This box is almost free-standing and sits within the volume of the main enclosure. On the roof of the box is the main living area that overlooks other areas across the circulation void below.

The expression goes that “ an English man's home is a castle”, but this “Motte and Bailey” must be a worthy contender to that crown.

Corner view.

View from the entrance road.

Night shot.

Front door.

Internal box.

Gratitude to Platforma Arquitectura for drawing this project to my attention.

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