House in Hamadayama was built in Suginami, Tokyo. In these years, many houses built in the period of rapid economic growth in 1960s are being re-constructed because a half century is almost the end of life for timber structure buildings of the day. They have serious problems in a poor structural standard in terms of earthquake? resistant design as well as old equipments in terms of energy-save design. Around the site, the same had happened to destroy a large building used to be; and the irregular land remained for selling the least site for making a glimitation househ which I named after. The site was close to a river, so that the land was too soft to construct a heavy building. The rear part in the site was 1 meter up from the front on a main street.
Young couple who purchased the tiny land asked me to design a maximum house. There was no other possibility than to construct it by timber structure because it could be light in weight without piles and therefore it was less expensive, favorable to the client. With the structural designer, Hirokazu Toki, we tackled with the difficult problem how we could design a big space, here it means long distant space, in a tiny land. gMaximum in minimumh I named for gHouse in Togoshih came again. Tube like space as long as possible was the most effective for making maximum space; however, for the purpose, it was required to eliminate small walls perpendicular to the longitudinal direction. After researches, we found it was appropriate to make an integrated frame structure made of timbers. Today, it is useful and even economical to apply the computer aided production of laminated timbers. Under the theory, the walls on the east should be expanded outward around the middle of the total building height, which functions as bearing walls against any horizontal load to the building. The joint is maintained by friction forces between timbers, which is really a traditional method for a timber connection in Japan.
The house was composed of two portions. One is 2.5 meter wide for the front; the other is 3.2 meter wide for the rear. The entrance is located at the end of garage, from which bedroom is on the right half story up; bathroom is on the left on the same ground floor level with a tiny garden. After a half story up from the bedroom level, there are kitchen and dining with an independent toilet extruded from the building body, a massive canopy to the entrance below. Living space is a half story up from the dining level, and turning around up to the home office at the top floor level. The interior view is going back and forth in full length of the house except some private realms. The sunlight coming into the house sometimes falls down onto the entrance level through the stairs in the middle. It is the structural system of integrated frame structure that made the longitudinal transparency in space realized in such a narrow and tiny lot.
Text by Satoshi Okada