plum grove

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work House in a Plum Grove location Tokyo architects Kazuyo Sejima & Associates structural engnieers Sasaki Structural Consultants mechanical engineers System Design Laboratory general contractor Heisei Construction site area 92.30m2 building area 37.20m2 total oor area 77.68m2 structure steel frame; 3 stories pricipal use residence completion date December, 2003

The house sits in a corner of one of Tokyos residential quarters

CLIENTS COMMENTSCLIENT The copy-writer Miyako Maekita, and her husband who is an advertising lm producer SITE 92.30 m2 where beautiful plum trees and wild owers grew, which made it look like a real garden inside this residential area WHY SEJIMA light, clean and white, no bravado at all rejected the idea that a house should represent economic power and attract attention A house is a place for attuning your mind, for tempering the body, so it needs light and dark, the right sense of tension, so it really doesnt have to be cosy. Something like a temporary perch Its quite small, not really a place to relax. a neutral house like a blank canvas, no obstacle to living or raising children. a house like a one-room studio


LDK: to challenge the LDK housing scheme: 2-3 bedrooms + living room (L) + dining room (D) + kitchen (K). Inside this white cube is an unconventional living space where a family of ve can perch within the ecosystem of the Japanese family and community. house as compact as possible one-room lifestyle, an accumulation of different rooms linked together 4+1 = big livingroom, bedrooms small, but get only 18 square meters at most against one bedroom per person, and then squeeze in a common space almost as an afterthought. = why not make lots of little rooms? DIVIDING THINGS: dividing things up, a more denitive dismantling of the space than the LDK model. By subdividing the space into small rooms, one could be free to choose. PRIVACY: bedroom smaller, for instance, one might gain another retreat, thus offering a choice according to ones mood. NO ORDINARY WALLS: walls to render independent rooms together with holes in the walls to connect them. Thus the rooms feel both connected and independent. NO WALLPAPER: (supercial decoration) = painted interior SPATIAL COMPOSITION: eliminate the feeling of depth. makes the room itself look at, like a photograph. You cant tell how deep or shallow the space is. OPENINGS: each cutting only very incidentally into the other

Bathroom and toilet

Daughters study and bedroom

Little sons bedroom

Detached room connected to the study and the main bedroom

Study seen from the 3rd oor stair well

Daughters study, bedroom and the living room

Rooftop garden will be covered with lawn

The second living room overlooks the rooftop garden


Kazuyo Sejima established her practice Kazuyo Sejima & Associates in 1987 and she has built extensively since. Her projects include Gifu Kitagata Apartment Building in Gifu, House in a Plum Grove, Small House In Tokyo and Onishi Hall in Gunma, Japan. She is currently professor at Keio University, and has taught at ETH in Switzerland, Princeton University and Harvard University in the United States. Ryue Nishizawa established his practice Ofce of Ryue Nishizawa in 1997. His projects include weekend house in Gunma, the Moriyama House in Tokyo, and China House in Nanjing, China etc. He is currently teaching at Yokohama National University where he graduated, and has taught at Princeton University and Harvard University in the United States. Ms. Sejima and Mr. Nishizawa established SANAA in 1995 as a collaborative ofce that focuses on international projects. Recent works of SANAA include 21ST Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa, Japan; Christian Dior shop building in Tokyo, Japan. Other projects that are in progress include new Louvre annex in Lens, France; EPFL Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland; Novartis Campus Building, Switzerland; Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, United States; addition and renovation to the Institute Valencia dArt Modern (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain; and New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, United States. Often referred to as an architects architect, SANAA has avoided a signature style while embracing qualities of light, transparency, and openness.

The house appears as a white closed cube as it is located in one of the corners of the site. The door is fused with the wall, the doormat and a small cantilever being the only signs of its presence. Furthermore, instead of conventional windows, a few at, square cuts are made on the exterior walls, without any seeming order. The logic comes from the inside. Refusing to create stereotyped rooms with a collection of arranged furniture, Kazuyo Sejima proposed to reduce each room to particular furniture or an action. For instance, the bedroom of the children is composed of one room-bed and a room-table. In that way, 17 different rooms were created, which together were arranged on a 77.68 m2 oor area and distributed on two oors with the tearoom on the roof. SAVING SPACE Having such a small surface, it was used to its maximum. The structure of the house is built with steel sheets, which reduces the thickness of the external walls to 50 mm and the interior walls to 16 mm. In that way, the structure, walls and the oors merge together and each part appears to have the same weight. CIRCULATION Interpreting the idea of a one room studio, the architect connected the individual rooms. She made cuts in the internal walls of the adjoining rooms, and left them without any glass. This offered new possibilities. Some rooms look outside through another rooms window. The air ows freely through these openings from room to room, and the boy or his cat can enter or exit through these openings at will. No space is shut off completely. Consequently, offering such a choice of different actions, the idea of privacy turns elastic. The members of the family can choose their place according to their moods, wanting to be alone or with others.


INSULATION AND AIR CONDITIONING minimum of insulation. exterior is coated with reective paint, so summer heat can only get in through sealed portals, but theres no stopping radiation, so in the end we put in insulation. In Europe they typically use a thickness of 100 millimetres, but in this house theres no more than 30. Sheet metal cools very quickly, so the insulation prevents the coolness from passing through. We used very few air-conditioning units. There are ducts that go to the very highest point, which serve to return warm air to the bottom and circulate it throughout. Theres good airow overall through the rooms.


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