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The House in a Car Park

Megan Harris Megan Harris
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Japanese architects Mukoyama bring us this interesting and unusually placed 153 square meter two-storey timber construction. Completed in 2011, it comprises both residential and office space. Ken-nushi was offered this land from relative under one condition—he was not to reduce the existing parking numbers, as far as was possible. This constraint was a key driver in the design. The home is elongated along the width of the site, comprising 3 car parks in breadth. The typical separation of public and private over the ground level and upper level is inverted; the bedroom is positioned on the lower level, facing the garden, whilst the living space is located on the second floor. 

The masculine exterior

Space is allotted at the street front of the house for two cars to park, from here an external stair leads directly up to the second floor living space. The designer explains that the exterior appearance and the workplace was guided by the husband, while the the function of the living space was the domain of the wife. One can definitely see a certain masculinity in the external presence of the home.

Defined roles

One can definitely see a certain masculinity in the external presence of the home. The distinction between the roles of the man and the woman and each persons governance over various aspects of the design, is a very traditional approach. It is influenced by both, pre World War II Confucian hierarchical structures and post World War II American occupation. Contemporary Japanese society has seen a move away from a strictly patriarchal society; however it is still widely accepted that women control the household, household finances, and household decisions, allowing men to pledge their time to work outside of the family home.

Kitchen connection

The kitchen is located directly off the living space and finds further connection to the dining area; all confined within an L-shaped footprint. The designer explained that this enables the wife to have to have a seamless housework flow. The L-shape of the upper floor opens up along both walls to the large triangular balcony, connecting the interior and exterior living spaces. For more inspiration to guide the structuring of your living spaces, take a look at these

The balcony and the cherry blossom

The beautiful cherry blossom tree takes up very little of the relatives highly prized car parking space; but from there it grows up and out, forming a distinctive presence on the site. The large balcony enters into a dialogue with the tree; one that changes with the seasons. the same timber that forms the decking is wrapped up to create a balustrade. What a wonderful outdoor space! For more creative outdoor areas, take a look at there balcony's, porches and terraces.

A playful interruption

The regularity of the living space finds a moment of interruption, punctuated by the four very different dining chairs. With each of the chairs carved out of the same timber, one may not notice the subtle regularity at first, but when they do, it is a welcome playfulness. 

If you enjoyed this project and you would like to take a tour through another wonderful Japanese design, take a look here: The Japanese Plate House

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