SANAA. Okurayama Apartments

Jan 2nd 2011
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In our recent visit to Japan we were part of the trip that in 1930 realised Bruno Taut to write his book ” The house and the japanese life”, and if the trip took to places that still explain traditional spaces like which he visited, we wanted to do the same question that he did almost 80 years ago: How is the Japanese houset now a days? , How do the Japaneses inhabit?. To find out if what in Europe is published as contemporary japanese house conserves some traditional characteristic, if it really responds to the more common residential models, or simply comprise of descontextualized images made by and for the publishing publicity.

We found in our visits to different houses, in different urban and rural contexts, a space reduction, a mixture between the necessity that imposes the extensive labor day and the familiar customs, in which the spaces of relation and the rooms survive on the base of tatami, and the compartmentation of the bath with a space to undress and another one of cleanliness. In spite of the reduction of the residential space, in the great cities still remain spaces of entrance between the street and the hall, and transits between the place of familiar meeting and the rooms stay. They are not so complex in his games of shades and heights like which still they are in traditional houses, but conserve the transit between different privacies.

Even in new apartments, as the Okurayama (SANAA), the rules between the deprived space of the garden and the street stay dissociated. To the interior, the apartments respond to the necessity to reduce to space in a high density context, winning ventilation and lights, and even so the transits between the pieces are realised thinning and extending the form of the house. In that context not even the form of the block is strange. The artificiality of those outlying areas admits these games of discharges and losses densities in which the facade as soon as it means, because the street has a minimum dimension, without sidewalks nor other public spaces.

Apartamentos Okurayama. SANAAfrom edicions espontaneason Vimeo.

In Europe it surprises the small space of the Japanese houses and the combination of the elements of its residential program, when we are speaking here to extend certain residential uses of the housing block outside the apartments, or to include the behaviors of the new familiar structures, in Japan that expansive search is introvert, caused by a context very humanized. In the new proposals of architects like Sou Fujimoto, Kazuhiro Kojima, Shigeru Ban, or these of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA), the apparent complexity of the distribution of stays of the house disintegrating it, extending it on the parcel, reducing it or combining it to handle the privacy of the inhabitants in reduced and multiple spaces, is the result of the necessity to take control of a space in very limited conditions of habitability. The walls are thinned, great hollows are open, or the doors are eliminated so that small cubicles visually gain the space of the street or other parts of the house, thus being high and mighty their perception. When one crosses in train those extensive peripheries of low density, or even in small towns or villages, one explains the apparent normality of those projects, born from the necessity of a massive coexistence.



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SANAA. Okurayama Apartments

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