by Meghna MehtaMay 22, 2019
Kobe-based Tato Architects have remodelled a 40-year-old building in Japan for a brewery owner, into their house and office with angled walls, in typical Japanese minimalist style. House and Office in Hofu, Yamaguchi, is inserted within the steel-frame of the existing structure, and includes a warehouse and shop for the brewery company that specialises in traditional soy and miso products. Drawing from that, the building’s outer walls are clad in charred wood reclaimed by the client from old miso barrels.
“While the brewery is located elsewhere, the client wanted to create a place with a cleaner atmosphere for other parts of the business, such as an office space, shop and storage space for a nationwide distribution of products. Fortunately, the building for this renovation project was large, so it was possible to create both house and business within the frame of the existing architecture,” shares Yo Shimada, Founder, Tato Architects.
The main outer frame and roof of the old building was kept as is, while newly planned spaces, partition walls and glazing were inserted within, angled at 45 degrees against the existing grid. The rotation was done to create ambiguity between the old and new layers of architecture, along with creating angled sundry spaces under the eaves and courtyards, “like wedged pieces of land between square fields”.
The public and private zones of the Hofu house and office are placed strategically according to functions. Public areas such as the shop and warehouse face north toward the road outside, followed by the office and prototyping room for product development in the middle. The residence of the client is placed furthest to the south, ensuring maximum privacy. The inserted walls create two angular gardens, one for the office spaces and a private one.
The private and semi-private rooms that look out to the garden are separated by sliding glass doors. The private residential design observes light coloured wood clad neatly across the floors, walls and ceilings, along with unadorned décor and broad windows that bring the wind and sun in. The angled walls produce geometric shadows that are thrown across the light filled courtyard pockets and the interiors of the House and Office in Hofu.
White dominates the interior design, from the walls to the slender columns, accentuated by features of wood and a bit of greenery provided by the pocket gardens. Slight furniture and timber shelves are placed sparsely across the concrete flooring, with petite indoor plants for company. “Looking from one room, the layers of glass doors and walls create depth and gradation, blurring the boundaries between spaces,” Shimada explains.
Name: House and Office in Hofu
Location: Hofu, Yamaguchi, Japan
Site Area: 1,230 sqm
Building Area: 460 sqm
Total Floor Area: 460 sqm
Architect: Tato Architects/Yo Shimada
Design team: Yo Shimada, Keita Kurokoshi
Planting: COCA-Z Tatsuya Kokaji
Construction: Fukumitsu Juken/Makoto Ikeda