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Trifurcation, Kanagawa, Japan

Saturday 29 Nov 2008

Throwing shapes

photo: Takumi Ota 
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Shigeru Kuwahara Architects' ingenious use of an unusual plot 

This residence for a couple and a dog is located in Kanagawa, a typical satellite town, 30 minutes train traveling distance from the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The rapid expansion of Tokyo had already involved this area 20 years ago, but there are still some woods secured from the development. The site was a left piece at the edge of urbanisation, a very calm environment with the rich sunlight on the southern slope of a small hill and the view to the green park. However, this fragment was an irregularly shaped trapezoid.

Escaping from the difficult condition of the site shape, the plan study was started from the centre of the site looking for the gentle connection to those good environments. The architects placed three certain functions in ideal positions in relation both to the site orientation and to each other, connected those with the uncertain functioned space, and created one homogenous and trifurcated room. Although the space is continuous, the trifurcation system can softly divide functions and generously allow multiple usages.

The root part is an ambiguous buffer space that gives free scope of activities among the branches, and works to distribute circulation. Three wings also create the three each characterised gardens in between which provide the situation of soft blending of inside and outside.

The basement floor is at an equal level to the road. The architects assigned the easiest accessible floor to the office space and each of three clusters becomes meeting, work, and archives. The entrance is shared and the stair leads above to the middle of the diverse programs; living, kitchen, dining, library, bath, and bedrooms. The first and second floor are connected through the void which each room faces. By sharing this unfixed and empty space, this entire envelopment affords multiple activities.

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Shigeru Kuwahara Architects

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