By building walls Japanese-style, designers can create instant openness in a house

Tokoname, Japan – 

Did your clients have a clear vision of what their new house should be?
MAKOTO TANIJIRI (Suppose Design Office): The couple and their two children used to live in a typical Japanese condominium with an interior that was difficult to open fully. It’s that limitation that led to their request for a house with ‘a feeling of openness.’

Why do you believe that walls are the best way to create openness?
Without ‘closeness,’ ‘openness’ does not have meaning. In this house, we used five walls arranged in parallel to achieve a simultaneous condition of open and closed. Openness is generated through the making of apertures, or ‘walls with openings,’ which form layers that introduce a sense of depth into the space. As a result, you feel more openness in this house than you would if there were no walls. Call it a ‘sensation of unending expansiveness.’ Although not obviously divided into rooms, the interior has a sense of continuity and separation at the same time.

Although the concept fits into your portfolio as a project that combines what you call ‘inconsistent elements’ – in this case openness and closeness – what makes it stand out from your other residential projects?
We deliberately used a minimum number of architectural elements to make a maximum impact. I believe that by limiting the amount of elements and by considering the scale of the building – in terms of small and large, narrow and wide, high and low – we can better define a new kind of space.

This piece was originally featured on Mark 69. You can purchase a copy here.

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