KYOTO – Two equal triangles cut into the side profile of a new house in Kyoto, which has an otherwise straight steel windowless front and back.
Nestled in-between lower residential dwellings on a narrow street in Japan, Alphaville Architects created a towering steel box which uses its east and west profile to penetrate light deep into internal spaces. The seven metre high apertures line the triangular indentations permitting light to enter various spaces.
Having dealt with the tight conditions for light within the narrow footprint, the architects focused on maximizing the floor area. By creating three split-level storeys, a number of spaces became available on sub-levels - the ground floor contains the dining, storage and bathroom, while above, a living area is combined with a bedroom, and the top level features another bedroom.
Joining the different levels are thin folded steel stairways with white tops and black undersides. The stairways create light connections between the spaces, opening up the vertical characteristics of the design further.
Traditional Japanese housing features, such as white walls and simple fixtures, are preserved within the house. The architects promote the circulation of air by using the principles of the stack effect – allowing heat to rise and evacuate through the top of the house and windows, whilst retaining hot air inside shafts within the walls for winter.
‘We designed this space not only as a house but also as a three-dimensional window, a staircase, a ventilation device, and the volume which accelerates various activities,’ say the architects.