99 m² Newtown House is a minimalist residence built by Kohei Yukawa and Hiroto Kawaguchi from Yukawa Design Lab in Kyoto, Japan.
The owners want a residence that would allow them to enjoy beautiful vistas while also allowing them to communicate with the people around them. The architects designed the house such that the parent's and children's rooms were on opposing sides of the house from the north and south. The primary living space would be in the center of the house. The continuous wooden slanted ceiling allows the indoor and outside rooms to cohabit.
First, architects design the house's places for "Parent's house," "Everyone's house," and "Housework and children's house." Placement of relatively closed "Parent's home" and "Housework and children's house" in the north and south, and very open "Everyone's house" in the middle, allows for both seclusion and an open house.
Designing a house where people feel like they are "living in the landscape," since the sequence of house-type volumes creates a succession of sceneries ranging from residences to Newtown to mountain ranges.
"Everyone's house" is a continuous environment both inside and out, with floors and steps at various levels, each with a particular significance. They work not just as a space but also as a chair, table, and storage, with the intention of being able to utilize each heuristically in everyday life by integrating with the surrounding environment such as light, wind, and feeling of distance.
By allowing the expansion of the family and Newtown at the same time, a huge area named "hall," which is the essence of "Everyone's house," becomes a continuous field from the Newtown, becoming a playground of the children surrounding, a study room of the family, and a city living room of Newtown.
Each "home" has an angled ceiling made of wood that is either continuous or torn, allowing the human room and the scaled down area to coexist. The ceiling is modest at the "house's" edge and represents human space; at the middle, the ceiling is high and represents scaled-out space. The human size scales out smoothly with the slope of the ceiling and connects to the outdoors via the balcony, so that people sense that mountain ranges on the east and Newtown on the west are not "carved out and relativized exteriors," but "exterior perceived as extension of body." It will be a new form of connection to the outside, as if living in a "wooden window" where comfort and openness coexist.
Architects established a new interaction of "people, homes, Newtown, landscapes" with how appearance is, how to utilize the space, and how to experience the space in Newtown "houses" by rearranging and rebuilding the areas of the house. And the resulting overlap attempted to generate a whole existence. In addition, I believed that this new relationship would let people recognize that houses are more free, even in Newtown with matching town houses.
Photographs by Yohei Sasakura.
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