Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL complete home studio in Tokyo
In central Tokyo, JapanTan Yamanouchi & AGWL complete an introvert at home and studio for an up-and-coming manga artist, her partner and two pet owls. Deriving from ancient Japanese thought, the compact dwelling is envisioned ‘floating a few centimeters above our daily lives’, creating a space that remains connected to our tangible daily life, while evoking a sense of fictional narrative.
Amidst a streetscape of plain geometric dwellings, its sculptural facade emerges from the ground in one continuous sweep, interrupted only by a dramatic tunnel leading to an entrance. Inside, the architects rearrange the existing program to accommodate all the family’s private living needs while creating spaces for the artist to complete her work and network. A variety of public and private spaces are distributed and unified over a system centered around a continuous ‘void’ that meanders through the space’s dynamic split levels, characterized by contrasts of dynamic sequences and plays of light with shadows.
all images by Katsumasa Tanaka
a meandering void system separates living spaces from work
The project began with the height that, according to the client’s request, had to ensure an introverted front for the house. Along the street, the house dynamically emerges from the ground and takes shape as a fluid deformed earthquake-resistant wall, just like the image of the earth rolling up. A dramatic hollowed-out tunnel leads to the entrance, inviting visitors to step away from the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Inside, Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL redesigned the overall plan to make efficient use of the long, narrow lot with an existing split-level floor plan, rearranging the sequence to create significant differences in height. Further, the architects significantly limiting the number of openings to create a contrast between light and dark in a ‘void’ that spreads throughout the house — with the exception of a small light court integrated with the north of the house.
the house dynamically emerges from the ground as a deformed seismic wall
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lifestyle of manga artists has seen a notable shift. Increasingly working from home due to online production becoming the new mainstream norm, artists have begun dedicating spaces in their private homes to serve as meeting spaces and studios for media interviews. As a result, to ensure that the client has enough space to keep this public and private function separate, yet easily accessible, while ensuring that every corner sparks creativity and comfort, Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL designed the interior and program as a ‘void’ with contrasts of highs and lows and lights and darks to create unbounded yet defined areas.
Refer to ash ‘dams and banks’ by the architects, these zones accommodate the need for a variety of public and private shades throughout the space, and allows for subtle and flexible use of space in a very compact dwelling. Furthermore, a wooden staircase ascends through the void, creating a three-dimensional composition that sparks a narrative experienced through the body.
name: A Japanese manga artist’s house
location: Tokyo, Japan
architecture: Tan Yamanouchi & AWGL
chief architect: Tan Yamanouchi
structural engineer: Graphics Studio / Yuko Mihara Construction
construction: Taishin Kensetsu / Yasuhiro Ikebe, Keisuke Nishide
building area: 44.16 square meters
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edited by: ravail khan | design tree