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.
XXXX House in Yaizu, Japan by Mount Fuji Architects Studio
March 3rd, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Mount Fuji Architects Studio
Automobile is our rival to beat.
Came one day a client who offered us a business. He wished to have an atelier which can be used also as a gallery to present his work of ceramic art, which he made for pleasure.
With mere 1.5 million yen(=11,000 euro)which he saved to originally purchase a business-purpose Toyota Collora sedan to spare as total budget, we started our project.
1.5 million yen. Ridiculously small sum of money for building any kind of architecture. Yet, it’s good sum if you’re going to pay away in everyday life. At least it affords you a “mobile room” with fancy air conditioner, car navigation system and power window. Question arisen. Are we sure we properly translate the money into the quality of architecture? Can ever be born objects that embody beauty and rationality in such architectural world, which is highly specialized and socially defined? These kinds of skepticism were something that bothered us over years. That’s why we felt great appeal for the small budget he offered.
To beat an automobile in value by holding a thorough investigation into closed payment structure of architectural industry; to quest an object which is most rational and reasonable by treating an architectural structure as a plain object…
Motto of this project was like this: “Make great use of 1.5 million yen, and architecture get ahead of automobile”.
There’s no room for contractors when we think of our poor budget. Only option left was to design an architecture that can be built by ourselves, except a few process which needs specialist’s hands. Fortunately our client offers a help. He and his family once worked as designer for boats and ships and have good sense in creating things.
For this is a project with sparse budget, we need to build the atelier by ourselves and with;
1. the cheapest material,
The answers for these were;
1. Utilize structural plywood with the size of 1800x900x12 (mm) as main material (in Japan, it’s highly distributed dimensional lumber).
XXXX frame / Form of strength
Incline even frames to left, odd frames to right and join them alternately to form X-shaped structure. We thus achieved astylar tubular space (shifted-trussing structure, if we call it) with triangle-shaped slit for natural lighting. A frame is consisted of 4 kinds of panels. This is a structure which enables us to handle a request for expansion just by adding another frame.
As you may see in these pictures, this architecture have wooden monocoque construction when assembled. Pillar, beam, brace, finishing material, insulation material, sash frame, roof truss material… Plywood panels played all these roles at once and played very successfully. We put monocoque construction that has hybrid functionality to reduce construction cost, period and process and to increase the value of design. After all we followed the same path that our rival -automobile- once passed. As a result of a pursuit of rationality, “White Box” that once said to be a design which ultimately represents rationality and abstraction of today’s modernism architecture started to be resolved to the more extent. Sunlight and breeze from outside brought the rationality to the existence of this object through triangle-shaped slits. As we see our work perfectly fit into the God’s rich work, we assured the rhythm of the shaded w 900 panels praise our challenge.
The building site is located on urbanization control area in Yaizu-shi, Shizuoka prefecture where weather is genial thorough a year. Our work is now sitting on southwest corner of the client’s place, south of their house.To the west we have a park which offers a great view with so many trees and plants, and to the east, garden plants such as plum trees cultivated with client’s loving care.
Facing south, though, is neighboring house. To the north, we can expect nothing more than walls of client’s own hose.
In our client’s head, there also is a plan to expand the architecture to make a cozy little guesthouse in near future.
Considering the primary function of the structure as atelier to create ceramic art, lighting and ventilation was essential. At the same time, the architecture had to be built with the minimum quantity of popular material, using a few manpower only, in the simplest and shortest process to reduce construction cost.
We put long axes east-west and opened each end. Assembled structure forms a tube with triangle slits thus ensures well-lighted, well-ventilated and hard-to-break space. This structure consists of repetitive unit and will help us much in responding to a possible request for extension.
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