House in Alley
COMPLETION | Jun. 2020
PRINCIPAL USE | HOUSE
PROJECT AREA | 72.57M2
LOCATION | KYOTO JAPAN
ARCHITECT | ATSPACE ARCHITECTS
Stood in a private alley in central Kyoto, 'House in Alley' is a renovated dwelling that is one unit of an old row house partitioned into five units. As a result of located in the end of the narrow personal alley, the surroundings of the small dwelling has already been enveloped in intimate tranquil environment before, isolated from the developed social city.
For the renovation project of this existing dwelling, Kyoto based architecture studio AtSpace Architects has an eye to the comfortable human sphere of the alley existing in urbanized town, they then plans to expand its environment from the alley into the inner dwelling.
To create an inner space close to the alley, AtSpace Architects sets its first floor on lower level than basic setting. It causes undefined border between the inside and the outside, and also raises ceiling height in the small dwelling.
As the result of placing the entrance position in central frontage, the panoptic opening constituted by sliding doors allows to connect the alley flexibly with the main living room. The inner sliding doors which is consisted of hollow polycarbonate board and wooden frame, imparts not only insulating by air but also diffusing light with blurred shadow.
In addition, the studio designs the streamlined kitchen toned to the other wooden materials in the living room, inviting surroundings of the front alley toward the back garden. This airy kitchen which was fabricated by a carpenter’s handicraft on the construction site, brings to link the two outsides in this open room.
In marked contrast to opened space in the first floor, the staircase connected to the second floor forms a gate closely. Inspired by the entrance gate of the private alley, the staircase gate is meant to produce further an alley toward personal area in the second floor. Same as the alley gate, the limited staircase gate impresses with an invisible border between public and private and also an expanse of rooms by passing through.
As well the staircase gate is element to evoke the alley gate. "We aim to design that one part like the personal dwelling holds a whole like the surroundings, history, relationship, sociality and context of its property and the detailed parts form the whole." the studio explains.
The grooved wood wall of common to the kitchen and the staircase is attempted to create new focal point and feature. Wrapped in the zigzag wooden panel, the wall of the staircase gate contributes natural light from the second floor expressly as change of time. Uneven curved, the wainscot of the opened kitchen draws out a nature shape visually with the outside trees. The black painted frames of the existing wood add a rhythmical tension to the renovated dwelling.