Oshikamo House / Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

In it’s simplest form, one could describe the Japanese vernacular as a simple wooden box filled with a series of interstitial spaces. The Japanese home is filled with plenty of filtered natural light, glowing wooden surfaces and familial interaction emanating from the center of the home.

The Oshikamo house, by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates, located in the Toyota-Aichi prefecture in Japan, is the modern take on the traditional Japanese residential home. The structure’s footprint creates a set of open wings, on either half of the dwelling, generating a unified interior, promoting continuous interaction between the family members. Each of the rooms in the house are indistinctly linked to each other via this central space. This programmatic distribution compels inhabitants to cross through the communal area, then branching into the gently curved passages, up stairs and ladders, to raised spaces that block direct views. The architects expertly lead people through the building, giving privacy when wanted, but not allowing isolation to last for too long.

That indistinct connection is the key concept of this house, expressing the spatial relationship among the rooms, giving spaces a unique identity, but blurring the defining edge, like a photo out of focus. From one view, you can see the entire space, grasping it as one large area, while from another your view is blocked, letting your consciousness develop the space beyond. The architects are interested more in how rooms connect to each other, than how a room is made. What interests them is space that curves, crosses, and diffracts, creating that which we inhabit.

The white metal panels which clad the gently curving walls of the building seem out of place in the surrounding vernacular, but behind the façade lays a complex space, that glows with natural light and beautiful carpentry. A series of interstitial spaces, stitched together with a deep understanding of the balance between privacy and openness, and Japanese design sensibility.

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