by Jerry ElengicalAug 29, 2022
The term 'suburban homes' has become synonymous with the term 'cookie-cutter homes,' where all examples of residential architecture look like they have been cut out from the same mould. Their designs are interchangeable and can be implemented in any suburbia of the world. However, every so often, there comes a house that defies these design norms to create something that is tailor made for its context. These instances are required, but rare. One such example is the Sky Vessel House in Fukuoka, Japan.
The Sky Vessel House is a sculptural dwelling that immediately stands out in a densely packed neighbourhood with its dramatic form. Designed by Fukuoka-based NKS2 Architects, this unique example of residential architecture is designed to be a social home. It houses ample space for entertaining guests and hosting events. The Japanese architects have created an open and spacious environment that is in perfect harmony with the surrounding natural landscape.
The most obviously striking feature of the house is the vessel shaped tile roof that sits on the top of a distorted circular floor plan perimeter wall. The remarkably unique shape of the roof serves multiple purposes. It serves to block views from the surrounding houses and apartments, thus ensuring complete privacy. It also frames the open sky, directly connecting the habitants of the private residence to nature. Furthermore, the curved roof tile also aids in collecting rainwater and softly reflecting sunlight, thus enhancing the sustainability, thermal performance and experience of the home.
The curving tile roof is supported by laminated timber beams arranged radially from a central point. These beams were adjusted in distance from the centre to the outer perimeter wall, ensuring that each space within the house maintained comfortable volumes with the necessary width and height. This meticulous planning and execution have created a range of diverse spaces with courtyards of varying sizes and differences in ceiling heights across the home. This makes for a series of continually engaging and dynamic interior spaces.
Along with the roof, the perimeter wall of the house plays a crucial role in maintaining the privacy of the interior spaces while simultaneously incorporating elements of nature. Taking advantage of the expansive site, a green garden is introduced on the outer edge of the wall. Intentionally minimal openings in the perimeter wall primarily consist of high sidelights and windows for ventilation. This is a deliberate design choice that restricts views from the outside while creating a subtle backdrop for artwork on the interior plaster walls. Keeping in with the style of the roof, these walls gently curve to give the interior spaces a sense of movement and fluidity.
On the inner perimeter of the house, towards the courtyard, a series of openings in various shapes and sizes provide ample access to wind, light, and greenery, resulting in bright and open spaces. The courtyard design allows for a coherent connection between the indoors and the outdoors. Natural elements weave themselves into the house through the courtyard. The courtyard itself is paved and features permanent benches for residents to sit and connect to nature with complete privacy. The abundant use of wood throughout the interior spaces further enhances this connection to create a warm and hospitable environment bathed in generous daylight filtering through the openings.
The thoughtful design elements continue to the road-facing side of the Sky Vessel House. The design features lower ceilings for the garage and a private entrance while the living room and dining room feature higher ceilings to create a more open and inviting environment. This deliberate contrast in ceiling heights, seen throughout the house, cleverly segregates spaces while simultaneously creating natural congregation pockets.
NKS2 Architects has very cleverly designed an example of residential architecture that defies the design conformist traditions of suburban homes. By creating a unique roof supported on a wall that acts as a green element and a privacy screen, the architects have created a dwelling that acts as a private space and a space for social gatherings at the same time.
Name: Sky Vessel House
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
Year of completion: 2022
Built Up Area: 285.81m2
Design Firm: NG Architects