It's not easy to design a contemporary house that fits in with a historic neighborhood - but that is exactly what Tato Architects did with their House in Ishikiri. The three-story - but still tiny - house in a 1930s neighborhood on the hillside of Mt. Ikoma features modern materials like concrete walls, a translucent roof and corrugated metal skin. Yet the design team used subtle strategies to make the house fit in with the area's older homes.
The architects were concerned that since the site was about 11 feet above the road, the house would look larger than its actual size. So it is designed with setback volumes floating over open and translucent spaces to break up its massing. The concrete walls were cast with a rough texture by using small split lauan wood to match the old masonry walls in surrounding buildings. And the roof line of the new house echoes that of other homes in the historic neighborhood.
The interior space was designed as if it were a renovation, instead of a new build. Spaces like the kitchen and bathroom were carefully placed within the concrete walls and the retaining wall behind the house, which was designed and put in place before everything else. On the first floor, a narrow box that contains the living room, dining room, kitchen and children’s room supports an open second-floor deck. This narrow box sits next to the open carport, which supports a second-floor box that houses the two bedrooms. The children’s room on the first floor is a particularly interesting space decorated with curtains designed by Akane Moriyama.
Photos by Ichikawa Yasus