Highly Commended: A fluid and porous surburban scheme, Eureka’s housing project offers an optomistic alternative to the typical house-on-plot model
Sprawling and diffuse, wasteful of land and resources, suburbs are seen as the enemy of density, sustainability and social progress. Yet their appeal endures and many people still hanker after the suburban lifestyle.
This project in a suburb of Aichi near Nagoya in central Japan attempts to devise a workable alternative to the house-on-a-plot default suburban model by creating a cluster of townhouses, interconnected by a network of semi-private courtyards and walkways. The outcome is a loose assemblage of volumes peppered with spatial incident and animated by variations in scale and materials.
Comprising nine houses for rent, Dragon Court Village is a kind of suburb in miniature. Certainly its car provision has suburban ambitions, with the brief specifying two cars for every unit. Interpreted literally, this would have created a condition in which half the site would have been consumed by parking areas and driveways. Instead cars are relegated to the perimeter of the plot. Fitting together with the pleasing complexity of a puzzle box, each house has a ground floor entrance and either one or two floors above.
Courtyards and decks are interspersed throughout the complex, providing opportunities for encounter and socialising, though you sense that the fluid, permeable and open character of this suburban armature could really only work in Japan, where there is an inherent respect for other people’s space.
The physical porosity of the scheme encourages cooling breezes and cultivates a sense of being part of a wider community. As a paradigm for a new kind of suburban dwelling, it offers a compelling and thoughtful vision of a possible future.
Dragon Court Village
Photographs: Ookura Hideki / Kurome Photo Studio