In this project, an urban area property owner with a large site in a high density residence area/business complex sought creation of a building containing a clinic, an owner’s house, and an apartment house.
A large, city-owned parking lot for bicycles was located to the south and the adjacent site to the north was occupied by a residence. Since the parking lot is city-owned, the facility won’t be changed for a long time. Though this condition is rare in an urban area, the project site was in a very good situation. There was wonderful and historical garden to the south, and we resolved early to save and respect it. In fact, it was our hope that the new building would respect the yard and its history because the existing building, approach, and volume have been there for a long time.
Since the site was located in a highly restricted area, it would have been difficult to locate a building near the north side and it would also have been difficult to create a large volume. So, the volume naturally became a local scale which melted into the neighbor’s property. It was also readily accepted by the neighbor because the new project would be closed to the surroundings and proportional to the existing building’s size.
The setback on the north side was originally necessary to make the building conform to regulations, but it became a roof garden to be used for residents' relaxation, and ultimately became an important contributor to the building’s final charm.
Although it would have been natural to add a passage on the north side and a balcony on the south, considering the arrangement of a typical apartment house, there would have been no way to enjoy the yard, which spread to the south. Therefore, we designed the passage to connect the whole way on the north and the south side to make it a windfall out and to prepare alley access to each dwelling unit. From this passage it is possible to enjoy the view to the south side from many places in the building.
Each dwelling unit has a private balcony capable of housing tables and chairs. Although most of the balconies face the yard, dwelling units which do not do face the yard face a gap that runs from the top of the building to 2nd floor. This gap provides ventilation and helps ensure lighting can be taken in as much as possible. Each dwelling unit can also feel light and wind fully because the neighbor is, comparatively, a low layer.
We hope the owner and residents enjoy the history of the yard and the change of the seasons as a part of their daily lives.