横浜・青葉の家 House in Aoba, Yokohama

It is a house for a couple and their three growing children in Aoba-ku, Yokohama.
The site has an elevation difference of about 5 meters toward the back. The surrounding area is a quiet residential area, with neighboring houses on either side of the street frontage. In order to derive the composition of the building from the shape of the site, we chose the method of "leaving the building to the site environment. The idea is to entrust the building to the individuality of the site, rather than to fit it into the site as if the building were already there. In this case, the building reflects the characteristics of the site, and we were convinced that this approach would be effective as we engaged in dialogue with the owner and his wife. We were convinced that this approach would work because we could sense the rich sensibility of the couple to "enjoy living" in their home.

The first floor of the building is a mixed structure of RC and wood, with a minimum amount of cut earth on the first floor, and the concrete retaining walls are reflected in the ceiling heights of the entrance and Japanese-style room. Instead of calculating the cut-earth bulk based on the ceiling height, a method was adopted that minimizes the load on the ground as much as possible to the extent that the space functions are met. The concrete of the building is finished with a cedar plank formwork finish, giving it a tasteful expression.

The main living space is located on the second floor, which is wooden and contrasts with the airy atmosphere of the first floor. Each room is gently separated from the LDK to blur the "border" between the two floors. In particular, the children's room is considered as an "individual space" rather than a "private room," and is contained within the LDK. The ambiguous division of the rooms does not limit the space where each individual spends his/her time, which allows for greater flexibility in the way of living. Family structure and lifestyles change as children grow up, so the house needs to be flexible and flexible. Not limiting the place of residence for growing children gives wings to their sense of creativity and ingenuity. In today's society, there are fewer and fewer places for children to explore on their own. In any case, home is the safest space and the place where children spend most of their time in a day. Children are playful by nature. Their world unfolds daily here and there in the house. It is interesting to be aware of "children's creativity" when creating a home for the child-rearing generation. This expands the range of ideas for material selection and floor plans.

One of the features of this house is the "window" element. Because of its proximity to the neighboring house, there are no large openings to the outside. Ventilation and lighting are incorporated functionally in consideration of privacy, so as not to impair livability. In order to achieve both a moderate sense of openness and comfort, high sidelights are placed around the entire perimeter of the building. The lights are continuous in each room, providing visual depth and transparency. The high sidelights also serve as picture frames. The scenery projected behind the glass is a "painting just for the family. The green of the trees, the changing colors of the sky, the moonlight, and the drops of rain - the painting's expression changes from moment to moment. The swaying of the trees in the wind forms beautiful shadows that softly move through the interior, which is wrapped in natural materials.

The use of high sidelights is also an offering of richness. The interpretation of "richness" is broad, but in this house, the focus is on emotionality. For the couple, we wanted to provide "a sense of peace and relaxation from their busy lives," and for the children, we wanted to provide "an expansion of their imagination.

Outside the LDK, a garden space utilizing the difference in elevation runs continuously up the slope at the back of the house. Descending the stairs from the garden, one can go around to the entrance from the courtyard facing the Japanese-style room. The roadside area is planted with trees that add gentle color to the building, and the Japanese cypress extending to the inner balcony creates a sense of freshness. In early spring, it is clothed with pretty small flowers. Aodamo (Japanese ash) planted in front of the Japanese-style room also has white flowers like light snow in early summer and red leaves in autumn. This aodamo is a young tree.

Aodamo grows slowly. I am sure that the children and I will continue to watch each other's growth as time goes by. We will be very happy if this house becomes an important home for the family, and we could not be happier.


  • Completion 2016.08
  • Building site Yokohama, Kanagawa
  • Principal use private residence
  • Structure 1F RC 2F wood
  • Floor area 147.42㎡
  • Photo Nacasa & Partners