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The context is characterized on all sides by a large river and large trees along the shore, flanked by a driveway and a huge condominium site in front and behind, with neighbouring houses standing right next to each other. On the other hand, it is in a semi-fire zone on a narrow site, typical of urban housing. While using versatile conventional wooden construction methods and ready-made aluminium sashes, external walls and furniture, we considered how to ensure a quality of space that could not be achieved in a ready-built house, and decided to create a spiral of openings, neither small nor large, from the first to the third floor.

In addition to providing lighting and ventilation, the view to the river on the west side of the house was also considered, and the need to shield the house from the sun was also considered, so sliding windows with shutters, which are often used in built-for-sale houses, were adopted. On the other hand, a single sheet of glass was made 1350 mm square, a size that is neither a window nor a door, and a series of sashes were placed diagonally around the position where the view is cut off from the dining space on the second floor, so that the view from the inside is not open 360 degrees like a full-length opening, nor is it restricted like a window in the middle of the wall. The view from the interior is not limited to 360 degrees, as in the case of a full-length opening, or to the river, the city and the sky, as in the case of a window in the centre of the wall.

The plan is 5.4 m square. The openings are not only in the east-west direction, where there is a vacant lot, but also on the north-south side, where there are neighbouring houses, so that the external environment is equivalently taken in. The spiral-shaped opening was problematic because the bearing walls could not be built on the same plane at the four corners, but a wooden structure was realised by reinforcing the steel frame above and below the opening and by making the bearing walls also continuous in a spiral shape.

The slab opening was made in a triangular shape using 45-degree flint beams, which was also a result of considering how to connect the upper and lower floors with minimal geometry while utilising the characteristics of conventional construction methods. On the other hand, the spiral staircase through the triangular opening changes direction from the first to the second floor and from the second to the third floor, creating a more three-dimensional relationship with the windows spiralling in one direction. The spiral windows and circular lines of flow in relation to the square plan. It is a small house with a simple plan, but the medium-scale openings, integrated with the structure and furniture, sometimes lean against the movements of the inhabitants, and sometimes reverse them, creating a protected yet open living space in the heart of Osaka.

use: residence
site: Osaka, Japan
site area: 48.39 sqm
building area: 28.95 sqm
total floor area: 81.42 sqm
building scale: 3 stories
structure system: wood
structural engineer:Takashi Manda;
Takashi Manda Structural Design
completed: 2013
photo credit: Kai Nakamura