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Love House by Takeshi Hosaka Architects, Yokohama, Japan

Love House is a response to Japanese urbanism that makes the most of the available space light and air in the tightly packed city. Photography by Masao Nishikawa

Love House extends the Emerging Architecture Awards’ tradition of introducing the latest crop of fine Japanese houses, as each year, the jury is presented with increasingly inventive responses to the complexities of Japanese urbanism. In this instance, Takeshi Hosaka Architects has adopted the technique most notably established by Tadao Ando, whereby the complex distractions of context are redefined by an impenetrable perimeter wall. Accordingly, this 3.3m-wide and 10m-deep box has no windows whatsoever. Instead, a curved courtyard has been carved out, tracing an arc from front door to back wall.

Containing an unprotected and essentially external staircase that veers away from the orthogonal boundary wall, a full-height void occupies residual space in the corner. But this is by no means left-over space. Instead, this is the realm of the client’s pet rabbit (name undisclosed). As clearly drawn and annotated on plan, the void includes a niche called Rabbit Space and the void itself is renamed Rabbit Way.

The bottom tread of the stair is just far enough away from the wall to enable the rabbit to roam free, seen in these images venturing as far as the top terrace; a space described by the architect as ‘not indoor and not outdoor’, where Yokohama’s sun and rain can easily penetrate.

Cast in concrete but framed in timber throughout, the staircase forms part of the ground-floor mass, containing within its depth a lavatory, bedroom and bathroom at the curved apex. Above this, sat upon the gently curved wedge, is a top-lit galley kitchen that serves the dining room and terrace.

When necessary, these are divided by a retractable glass screen. With an incredibly small 33m² floor area, Love House is another intriguing example of how Japan’s emerging generation of architects continue to make the most of available space, light and air in tightly packed cities.

Architect Takeshi Hosaka, Yokohama, Japan
Assistant Megumi Hosaka
Structural engineer Nobuo Sakane

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