Project Name: Lik House
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Program: Single family house
Architect: Satoru Hirota Architects / Satoru Hirota
Structural design: Nieda+Hisaeda Architects / Taizen Nieda+Taizo Komatsu
Contractor: Eiger Co. Ltd, / Noriaki Fujii+Masakazu Sasaki+Koji Misaki
Site area: 294.90 square meters
Built-up area: 108.21 square meters
Year of completion: 2010
Influenced by the unique shape and location of the lot, Japanese architects Satoru Hirota have designed a single family house in three tunnel-like volumes. I’ve said it before and I think I’m only going to have to repeat myself, but Japan is the place to be if you want to take the design of a plain old family home to an avant-garde level. Even with limited space in many cases, their architecture is time and time again, so appealing, forward-thinking and functional.
Located in a former business district in Tokyo, the project asked for a house to be rebuilt on a plot where the client was born and raised. The end result; the Lik House is a residence with the feeling of a resort which is both relaxed and offers a sense of intimacy due to the medium-rise collective housing scattered around the single-family house, says Satoru Hirota . The Lik House itself was constructed in a relatively calm neighborhood in the city of Tokyo where the architectural design sought for a balance between the new residence with those that surrounded it. As a result, any bulky volume was immediately out of the question. Instead three tunnel-like volumes were arranged along the site’s boundary with angled trajectories, generating an irregular outdoor residual space which was transformed into the courtyard and the bamboo yard. The courtyard – a place for both physical and visual interaction – projects the interior to the surroundings.
Each volume is a tube-like concrete structure (150-mm thick) with glazing facing the courtyard, so that the boundary between the inside and out might continue vaguely. Each of the three tunnel-like volumes which overlook the courtyard are infused with a soft light, creating a vague distinction between the interior and the exterior. Floor-to-ceiling ribbon windows border each of the internal spaces, introducing views of the bamboo garden and vegetation into the rooms. The ribbon windows, courtyard and bamboo yard as well as the abundant natural light make this building composition seem spacious, well-balanced and neat, with a sense of openness and transparency as it introduces a continuous play of light and shadows despite its remarkably narrow interior. Moreover, someone walking from one space to another feels as if they’re crossing transitional areas; the dynamic architecture, the slender passages and the continuous space (50-meters end-to-end), which is bent in the middle all add up to the openness that is created. the Lik House is built on a 294.90 square meter plot, while the built-up area has a total surface area of 108.21 square meters. The single family house is comprised of an entrance area, storage area, kitchen – dining area, wine cellar, a living room and a WC, while the private quarters of the residence – the master bedroom is a long tunnel-like passage which includes the bedroom, the bathroom, and a closet which is very cleverly and conveniently located next to the service court and the garage, all within the 108.21 square meters.
But apart from the architectural form and the program, there’s more; the Lik House has a strong contrast as it plays with cement volumes, and stark white stucco surfaces. Angular shapes, which are strictly geometric, add up to the cement surfaces to only make the Lik House a strictly contemporary modern Japanese residence. Ribbon windows, wide openings, skylights, and the application of glass panels in this interior add elegance to the cement volumes. Undoubtedly, a very strong design element is the bamboo yard which can be enjoyed as you’re watching TV or working. Few furniture pieces adorn the Lik House setting as they set the tone for an absolutely minimal Japanese modern residence.
photo © Satoru Hirota Architects