House in Togoshi was built in Shinagawa, located in a seaside periphery of Tokyo, where lots of small factories are coexisting with private residences. The site is quasi rectangular, 7.2 meter wide x 9.9 meter deep, facing to a small road to the east. It is closely surrounded by neighbors; a blacksmith factory in particular on the south.
The building volume and its overall shape are conditioned within an imaginary sphere severely restricted by both fire law and architectural law in the metropolis. First, it must be composed of fireproof construction and materials. Second, the building area must be less than 60% of the site area, and its double is the maximum total floor area, though the basement floor area is eased. Third, the building height must be less than 10m from an average ground level. Finally, it has a setback regulation both on north side and on the street side, which was actually severer than the maximum height.
In addition to these conditions, there was a definite contradictory request by the client (a young family of husband & wife with two children). The husband, a car mania, demanded to contain a carport inside the tiny property; and at the same time, to have a living room as big as possible, from where his lovely vehicle can be appreciated in everyday sight.
The house is mainly composed of 2 portions; one is a 3.5 meter bay for the main building body, the other is a 2.4 meter bay for a vehicle. The platform for living is half story down from the platform for kitchen and dining located above the carport for satisfying the view of vehicle as well as for keeping the space volume of living bigger with the continuous flat ceiling from kitchen & dining. The wide stairs turns to be a bench for many guests sitting in a party. Below the carport, hobby room and bathroom with a tiny sunken yard are buried in the underground; master bedroom and storage are piled up one to another beneath the living space. A narrow stairs, where the skylight is set above, leads to children's rooms with a common loft connecting to both.
The exterior is covered by galvanized steel sheet for assimilating the house to the industrial townscape. The fa?ade has no openings mainly because of noise along the street. While, the extruded wall from the kitchen is intended to function as a reflector of sunlight into the living after 3 p.m. since the sunlight directly into living can hardly be expected. The wall is also effective for protecting privacy against north side. Cooperated with different quality of lighting onto white walls through transparent or translucent slits, interior has a variety of space by proper width and height in each place according to dwellers' activities.
In Tokyo, because the land price is extraordinary high, people are stressed to build in such a tiny site under strict laws for construction, and dreaming to have a spacious comfortable house. Thus, we architects are always examined how to secure each private realm for living under the social restrictions. This house is one of the typical examples of Tokyo House condition, if I defined, "Making Maximum in Minimum."
Text by Satoshi Okada