The Keyhole House by EASTERN Design Office

published in: Architecture By Marcia Argyriades, 06 September 2011

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photo © Koichi Torimura

Data: Keyhole House
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Architect: EASTERN Design Office
Site Area: 90.81 square meters
Total Floor Area: 103.47square meters
Structural Engineering: EASTERN Design Office
Contractor: arcc
Photographer: Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

Undoubtedly every house that we have presented on   Yatzer from the Eastern Design Office is of unique architectural design, and each house is designed with an exclusive concept, making every single project so special.  This time,  Yatzer exclusively presents the Keyhole House which is located in Kyoto, Japan.  Its architectural design features a facade shaped like a keyhole, a keyhole where the owner could use his ‘key’ to open his house!

This house isn’t fancy, nor is there any particular difficulty in its architectural design; it’s just a simple, yet stunning stick figure house like those that we used to sketch as six-year olds, yet, it is so homely, so captivating and undoubtedly eye catching.  The keyhole shaped façade is the key to opening ‘my house,’ which sits along a narrow street in crowded Kyoto.  According to the architects, the house is designed as a “key itself on the façade of this house; the house can be called a key, which will happily open up your life. Such a small key, this house is a key!”

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

The total floor area of the two-storey residence is 103.47 square meters on a 90.81 square meter site.  The fact that it is built on the corner and has a triple façade allows for the proper projection of the architectural design.  The petite Keyhole House stands alone on the corner of a small parking lot on a busy street.  The house serves as a residence to a family of four and two cats; despite the fact that for the Western world this house is considered small, Eastern Design Office has somehow made things work and has adjusted the needs of the family members and its pets to the residence.
 

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

The first floor includes the communal spaces, such as a Japanese-style room, a bathroom, a WC, dining room and kitchen, a walk-in closet and the catwalk for the two pet cats.  An L-shaped staircase leads to the private areas on the second floor such as the two bedrooms, a WC, a walk-in closet, a living room and a terrace.   Both floors have been designed in such a way that the architectural design of the southern façade is pierced by a random arrangement of square and parallelogram openings for an abundance of natural light.  Even the main (eastern) façade is marked by the window shaped like a key. The exterior construction cladding providing for this playful contemporary design is mortar with sumi ink and perfectly matches perfectly the playful red wine-coloured door.  The thin steel eave which is fixed to the façade of this house seems as if it is floating along with a key-shaped slit like a ‘picture’, crossing over the eave are both elements that are laid out like a beautiful pattern designed on a fine-looking painting.

Occasionally you will see one of the pet cats lying by the window staring out…you may wonder what she’s looking at. “Do you still possess a naïve enough heart with a key to open this house?”

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

photo © Koichi Torimura

sources:

EASTERN Design Office

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EASTERN Design Office

About EASTERN Design Office

EASTERN Design Office of Anna Nakamura and Taiyo Jinno is a collaborative architectural and design firm in Kyoto, Japan.   The firm was founded in 2003, and ever since they have received various prizes in International competitions.  Their projects range but are not limited to urban planning, commercial and residential architectural design.    The architects of EASTERN possess a remarkable sense of scale.   “Their architectural designs develop a high level of freedom in them on the basis of thorough understanding of this principle.  The architects of EASTERN artfully enjoy the plastic freedom that comes with the scale of residential buildings. It is not that they simply discard unnecessary structure, but rather, on the many disadvantageous sites often seen in Japanese cities, they assert the existence of architecture by first establishing the external reinforced concrete wall.  They then draw what may be observed as random free curves on the wall surface.  If you design the space between a pair of adjacent curves as negative, you obtain an aperture, but if you consider it as positive, it becomes a solid component member.  The two architects of EASTERN will utilize their extraordinary plastic sensibility grounded in Japanese tradition to construct an original and distinguished world of architecture while maintaining their certain sense of scale.”

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