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House kn by Kochi Architect's Studio, Miura City, Kanagawa, Japan

Cut from a box enclosing the whole plot this residential property divides up and efficiently uses the entire site. Photography by Kazuyasu Kochi and Nobumitsu Watanabe

The work of Kazuyasu and Mana Kochi may be familiar to AR readers from the Colours house (AR March 2008). While that house occupied a unique site with elevated views over a cemetery, this project is far more representative of a typical Japanese suburban condition. With houses traditionally located at the centre of each plot, set back from the road, most are surrounded by ill-defined and often useless residual space. House kn challenges this by extending a perimeter wall around the entire plot, before dividing it up in a more efficient manner.

‘As Kazuyasu Kochi describes it: ‘First, I put a big box on the whole of the site, and then made a big void as a type of window’

This window is a cross-sectional chamfer that cuts across the irregular box, producing a visible triangular aperture from the street. The accommodation is a more conventional mono-pitched pavilion set out on an alignment that roughly traces the building line of adjacent houses. Communal spaces occupy the upper floor, giving views to and from the street, while the irregular ground- floor houses three bedrooms, a bathroom and two gardens.

Adhering to development codes that control the ratio of built area to plot area, in House kn, each residual space has a function, including two off-street parking spaces. The upper floor also has access to two terraces, extending from the main living space to occupy flat roofs that sit above the entrance/car yard and family bathroom.

Architect Kochi Architect’s Studio, Tokyo, Japan
Structural engineer Yukihiro Kato / MI+D Architectural Structure Laboratory

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