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House in Shugakuin-Rikyu

「House in Shugakuin-Rikyu」

This house is located in a high-class residential area at the foot of Shugakuin Imperial Villa, that suddenly opens up when you climb up a small slope from the main street. This house was built in the 1980s and is the residence of the Chinese President. However, when you step through the delicate sukiya-style entrance you will find a so-called Western-style design painted in dark brown, and a Japanese-style garden that can be seen through aluminum windows.  A few years ago when the owner of the house changed, its use also changed, where the first floor of the main house is now used by visitors to allow for the main and detached house to be used for employee seminars. This large-scale house connects different living spaces by a bridge. It was decided to renovate the public hall, where the second floor will be used as an accommodation space for visitors while the second floor will be used as the living space for its owners. What we worked on in this refurbishment, this can be summed up in two points. The first point is reconciling the overly mixed Japanese-Western design while preserving the Japanese design that prioritises high-quality materials. The second point is the alteration of the opening, which was surrounded by greenery on all orientations and created a dark, closed-in feeling due to the succession of monotonous windows with aluminum sashes. Among these points, the most significant changes were the windows on the south orientation that faced the Japanese garden and the windows on the north orientation adjacent to the rich greenery of the mountains. These spaces are Western-style rooms that are used with chairs while the external environment maintains a Japanese-style. We determined that the openings that connect the internal and external space should be spread horizontally to allow for the Japanese-style and designs to flow in from the garden. We have aimed for a well-balanced Japanese-Western space through having a Japanese-styled landscape and a Western-styled interior. On the other hand, the Japanese-styled room has an aluminum sash on its exterior while the shoji inside has beautiful thin lines, these are details that will be redone. Furthermore, by modifying the windows and editing the light that enters the room from all orientations, the relationship between each interior and exterior space changes. Moreover, we have created  a smooth transition between Japanese and Western designs in-between the internal spaces. We believe that designing is the search for a boundary surface that balances the transition between internal and external spaces. Although when working with renovation design we question that boundary surface that has already been drawn and search for a new balance. When working on a new building, we try to make this boundary as simple and strong as possible. Moreover, when working with renovations instead of destroying and rebuilding the existing boundary we draw auxiliary lines both externally and internally of those boundary lines to create a new balance.

House in Shugakuin-Rikyu
site:Kyoto, Japan
site area: 218.56 sqm
building area: 184.61 sqm
total floor area: 305.39 sqm
building scale: 2 stories
architects: Kentaro Takaguchi, Asako Yamamoto, Keigo Nakamura
structure system: wood
structural engineer: Jun Yanagimuro ; Jun Yanagimuro Structural Design
completed: 2022
photo credit: Yosuke Ohtake