Kyoto project’s contemporary take on a traditional townhouse

c_383_4e05dc0c-ba07-4f28-a1e1-3bdb02f15135The Kyoto Townhouse Project is a residential house located on a narrow street in the center of Kyoto, the old capital of Japan. The area is lined with traditional wooden townhouses and because of the landscape regulations and the physical context of the neighborhood, the traditional form and composition of the townhouse cannot be changed.

For the project owners want to overcome some of the negative aspects of the traditional townhouse. The wooden structure of townhouses cannot afford to have large openings on the short sides of the building. Consequently, the interior is dark and communication is limited to the horizontal direction.

In this project a steel rigid frame and polyhedral partition walls allow for large openings on the walls and the floors, along with the partitions, and allows natural light to diffuse multi-directionally, and encourage three dimensional communications and movements. The most characteristic feature of this house is the polyhedral form of the partition walls. They are not made by intuition but are based on logical concepts and perform multiple functions.

First, the partition walls, normally extended in the vertical and horizontal directions, are multi-dimensional and loosely connect the rooms on the three floors. The space thus created is one continuous room with dynamic nuances: it is simultaneously spacious and heterogeneous.

Second, the partition walls serve as reflectors of natural light. They softly reflect the natural light coming from both the north and south sides and bring it to the otherwise dark interior of the building.

c_383_2948b0ea-0602-445a-bb0d-9599fa5b3c96Finally, the partition walls blur the boundary between architecture and furniture, thus stimulating perception and behavior. The plywood-finished walls melt into floor and ceilings offering varied experiences of touching and passing.

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Freed from the constraints of the old system, occupants can enjoy each other, and a new lifestyle in the historical Kyoto area.