Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
House in Nagaoka, Japan by Daigo Ishii + Future-scape Architects
January 29th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Ishii + Future-scape Architects
It locates in the downtown of the city with 300,000 people in northern region where it snows heavily with 3 m deep at maximum. The family is composed of grandparents, parents and 2 children. The building of the laundry factory and shop that the client family run was left and only a part of the house was rebuilt.
The factory and the house were not connected due to the building regulation that controlled the direct connection between the old building and the new one. Instead, between both buildings, an alley covered with big eaves was disposed. The eaves that is covered with prevent the alley from the snow in the winter and the alley functions as semi-indoor space for connecting both buildings.
The house was planned considering aged grandparent, therefore, the majority of the function was disposed on the ground level, and the large loft space like attic with many openings was put on the first floor.
In this house, the loft functions not only a space where the things as a family’s memory are put but also a key space for giving the identity.
The first is a loft as a space that forms a new relation and communication of the family.
The loft has openings on the floor that are opened on the ceiling of each room of the ground floor. The sign of each room is transmitted indirectly through the openings. The light of each room that leaks from the opening reflects on the loft ceiling, and the sound of the activity passes dimly. Family’s sign mixes indirectly in the height of the loft and produces a new form of the relationship between the family’s members. It is a different type of communication from the private room type’s house or the big one room type’s house.
The sign of the members is overlapped with the sign of the past time of the family that the things on the loft relate. The communication that strides over the time is generated.
The second is a loft as a space for controlling the building environment. The house was constructed at low cost. But, according to the efficient way that the loft realizes, the house acquired a high performance on the building environment.
One is that on the light.
In this area, the ground floor is buried deep in the snow in the winter, and the bad and dark weather continues. So, in such period, it is difficult to get the comfort full of the natural light. Specially, if the aged people select to live on the ground floor according to the ease of the movement, they have to live in the dark environment in the winter.
In this house, the loft has a large high side window. According to the high position of window apart from the ground, the bright natural light is easily introduced in the interior through all year round and even in the winter. The light goes down to the ground floor through the openings on the loft floor. So, even in the daytime of the dark day, they can get the enough illuminance by only the natural light without the artificial lighting.
The problem of the heat loss due to the largeness of the window is solved by the way that the high side window is composed of double glass and polycarbonate plates with four layers of air space as a buffer zone of heat. Therefore, while the large window supplies the sufficient light, the heat loss is suppressed.
Other is that on the circulation of the air.
The entire space of house is planned as one system of air conditioning. The air conditioning unit is installed under the floor, and the warm or cool air is transmitted to all rooms through the below of the floor. Each room has air grills on the floor, and the air blows out in each room then to other space. Then, the air circulates in the interior.
Since all rooms connect by the openings opened to the loft as one space, the loft functions as a large air chamber for controlling the air.
The air via the loft is collected from the grill on the ceiling. Then, the air goes back again to the air conditioning unit under the floor, replacing a part of air in the fresh air by the ventilation system with heat exchanger.
According to the repeat of this process, the temperature of the air of all spaces and all heights becomes regular and stable.
Apart from the loft, in order to prevent from the heat loss and run efficiently, the thick external heat insulation is also installed on all exterior parts of the house. The reinforced concrete surface of base where the air passes is also covered with the thick heat insulation not only in the exterior side but also in the interior side. According to this process, the air is supplied with less heat loss and without the stagnation of the warm and cool air.
As for the light and the air, the energy is used efficiently.