Compact living can be a wonderful experience due to the fact that the interior of such a dwelling is always cozy and functional. The House in Mishuku II is an interesting residential project, one of those compact Japanese homes, designed by Nobuo Araki in Tokyo. As you explore the boundaries of an airy space, despite its unusual exterior (the facade has no openings, cut outs or windows), you enter into a world of simplicity, a luminous living space that exhales a positive energy and a good vibe.
Back in 2004, the house was envisioned as a comfortable home for a married couple. Meanwhile, the family expanded, so the house had also to expand too. Luckily, a second structure could be built nearby. “When building a house in a densely populated area, a question arises regarding whether or not to have windows facing the outside since it can give a sense of openness but it sacrifices certain degrees of privacy. At first sight the flat, cubic building seems a little detached from the surroundings, yet once inside, it is remarkably open and airy since a part of the ceiling opens up to the sky.” The interior is fluid, there are no partitions and there’s a cut out in the ceiling, allowing the light to sneak inside.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.