Terraced house in Shinsaikamachi is a 10-unit apartment that consists of two different dwelling types. Each unit size is 30 sqm and has an individual exterior space, ground floor room, and upper floor room. The residents can choose a comfortable place to live, even in the limited circumstances. The terrace creates a space with a connection to the community and the facade provides a bright and open environment.
The residents have seized the potential of the design and expanded the possibilities of the apartment, using the units not only as homes but also as small offices, shops and studios. The site is located in Shinsaika-machi, Matsue, 600 km away from Tokyo. The Shinsaika-machi area was laid out during the Edo period, approximately 150 years ago.
The old street pattern forms a grid of narrow paths 3.5 meters wide faced with long and narrow plots. The design brief required an apartment for single persons with units of approximately 30 square meters. However, the Building Code restricted planning of ordinary collective housing with common areas on plots with narrow frontage and the terrace housing type was selected.
Typical Japanese apartment buildings of similar size are often a closed environment, the entrance is closed from the road, and even balconies, normally about a meter deep, used just for hanging laundry out to dry. Also, the interior environment is rigid, with narrow entrances and kitchens, and rooms reduced to jumbled bedrooms cum living spaces.
We set out with the objectives to create a bright and open environment, spaces with connections to the outside and the community, and with a spatial variety in the units where residents can choose and personalize a comfortable place to live, even in the limited circumstances. An alley-like space connecting to the frontal road was created on the east side by pushing the building volume to the west, bringing light and ventilation.
The glass façade, which is made entirely of same size sashes, faces the open space and functions as both windows and entrances. The repeating wood frame structure based on the Japanese module system confers a rhythm to the building that blurs boundaries between the units in concert with the uniform openings.
The apartment consists of two different dwelling types. Each unit has an individual exterior space, ground floor room, and upper floor room. The terrace is framed by 90mm square columns and beams, and a translucent wall that extends along the interior boundary wall. The entrance opens out to a terrace, an exterior space serving both as an extension of the interior and also as a node between the private spaces and the surrounding community.
The terrace can be made inviting by placing plants and outdoor furniture, or it can be covered by an awning or closed-off with outdoor curtains, expanding the living space and allowing the freedom to adjust the way the unit opens up and connects the inside, outside, and surrounding area. The residents have seized the potential of the design and expanded the possibilities of the apartment, using the units not only as homes, but also as small offices, shops and studios.—Structural Engineer : Takeshi Kaneko (Kaneko Structural Engineers).