Located in a quiet residential district of Yokohama, Kanawaga, Japan, the irregular-shaped white house designed by Tetsuo Kondo is the home of a family of four (parents and two kids). The compact wooden white house incorporates a small garden, like most of the Japanese homes. Modern and functional, the structure surprises you its a unique shape, cut outs and spaciousness. From the attic you can view of the skyline of Yokohama city but that doesn’t mean that the house has that urban feel embedded all over. The back of the house offers a relaxing view over a lush forest. The owners are very lucky due to the fact that they live in a house adapted to the urban standards, yet they can still take advantage of the nature’s wonders.
Each room is organised vertically. The interior is characterised by a minimalist all-white design line and the main material used in defining it is wood. Small gardens are placed nearby the rooms, embellishing the interior living space and creating a relaxing and comfortable home ambience. “These gardens, or intermediate spaces, not only connect the interior to the exterior spaces but are common spaces for the family. Although each room is independent, these non-specific areas allow the rooms to extend and mix with each other creating new spaces with each use. It also allows the family to circulate the small house in many different ways.”
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.
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.