Constructed on a deep plot of land in Aomori prefecture, this low budget project N-House would automatically be long stretched. My response to this characteristic of the site was to explore a feel of openness and transparence by making the depth of the space measurable through the introduction of in-between zones to separate the main spaces and cut through the space in the cross direction. This results in a spatial quality that allows one to experience several other spaces further away beyond where one is. The result is a layering of space. Looking through several spaces, whether interior or exterior, gives a feel of openness. In the length from the entrance door, one can see through the living room, dining area and the Japanese room into the garden behind the house. All these major spaces are determined by the in-between zones that create the same kind of varying depth as in a old Dutch paintings in which there are always a series of adjacent spaces visible that extend the limits of the space. In reality these in-between zone do not only separate the main spaces they also connect, like cross passages in the city, they are part of the circulation giving access to the functions in the service zone, such as the staircase to the second floor, the bathroom, storage and toilets.. This is therefore not a house built out of separate rooms but rather of spaces that stand in direct relation with each other by means of transition zones. At the second level of N-House the openness in the length can be changed by opening or closing sliding doors. By using color difference (orange plywood [Nitax Wisa Light Brown] against Birch plywood) in the floor and changes in the ceiling the spaces are determined and the distance optically made measurable. By placing the service functions in a small zone along the North side between double walls the house was given a backbone that stretches the whole length of the house. From the awareness of the enclosure of this backbone, a sense of protection is achieved. Against this enclosure the main spaces such as the living dining kitchen, Japanese room and the bedrooms are placed in linear direction over two floors. The void over the living room creates a strong connection with the second floor but also gives the house it’s center of gravity. A higher degree of openness was created on the South side that allows for a strong relation with the exterior and lets in a lot of natural light and sun light. Both the client requirement for a warm house and good views of the surrounding mountains and ski-slopes were solved in this way. The sun light warms up the house and the windows give strategic views of the surrounding. Energy efficiency through daylight penetration. Being in an area of Japan with cold winters with a lot of snow in addition to this passive heat gain on the south side glazing, the house was isolated with 100mm insulation material and all the windows were fitted with pair glass. The feel of warmth of the house is further strengthened by the use of the materials. The main structure is a wooden column and post structure left exposed in the ceilings of the main spaces. Only a few finishing materials are used and in a clear order. The walls in the length of the house are finished with 900x900mm square meranti plywood panels treated with transparent lacquer while in contrast in the cross direction the walls are finished in Japanese spruce plywood. The floors are in birch plywood for the main spaces and orange brown plywood (Nitax Wisa Light Brown from Finland that is protected with a poly-vinyl layer developed as material for concrete formwork) for the in-between zones. The Japanese room and the master bed room is finished with a tatami floor while the spare bedroom has a floor of Larch plywood stained whitish the same as the ceilings of the main spaces. Only the in-between zones have a lowered ceiling that accentuates the meaning of these zones. This simplicity of materials is to avoid the use of catalogue materials and to avoid as much as possible the use of standard products. Instead we used standard raw materials to the size of a dimension system to give homogeneity to the spaces and the building. This is not so much a building-order that organizes the building, but more a dimensioning system that gives order and proportion to the building through a network of relating joints. The Modulation of dimensions is based on the basic module of 900 x 900 and stepped down by halving to 450 x 900, or 450 x 450, or 225. Through this dimensional hierarchy from the structure down to the finishes, a sense of unity and refinement was achieved in spite of the rawness of some of the materials (meranti walls).


45 photos

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • Antonina Ilieva
    Antonina Ilieva updated
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • added 3 digital references and uploaded 19 media
    L2 view across void over living Articulation thorugh material & color difference Front Elevation; shows directional articulation Rear Elevation Longitudinal view; main & inbetween zones View from dining area through to Japanese room Open kitchen; finishes as floors: formwork plywood Purpose made japanese room Void; color difference for main & inbetween spaces Stairs to second floor Dimensional coordination & purpose made cabinet Low cost purposed design light fixture 2007 N House Dwngs COLOR Page 1 2007 N House Dwngs COLOR Page 2 2007 N House Dwngs COLOR Page 3 2007 N House Dwngs COLOR Page 4 2007 N House Dwngs COLOR Page 5 2007 N House Dwngs COLOR Page 6 N House P&P W Elevation
    about 6 years ago via OpenBuildings.com