Located in Mount Rokko, with spectacular views overlooking Kobe, the ‘House in rokko’ by Japanese Architect Yo Shimada explores how architecture can minimize physical impacts upon the environment while maintaining the views.
House in Rokko Technical Information
- Architect: Tato Architects
- Location: Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
- Project Year: 2011
- Typology: Residential / Houses
- Principal Architect: Yo Shimada
- Area: 94.5 sqm
- Photographs: © Kenichi Suzuki
I have been somewhat anxious about how Architecture should be in a place with great views. […] What is the way, while enjoying the view, not to be dominant to the environment?
– Yo shimada
House in Rokko Photographs
Article by Tato Architects
I have been somewhat anxious about what architecture in a place commanding an excellent view should be. It is the state of affairs’ freezing effect towards the environment. What is the way, while enjoying the view, not to be dominant to the environment?
At the end of the residential area developed halfway up Mt. Rokko, the site was broad but too steep to bring in heavy machines for driving piles. A plane of 3.5 m by 13.5 m was left when a sufficient distance was secured, for manual digging for foundation, from the old breast wall and heaped soil.
The site was not necessitating much anxiety about people’s eyes. As people’s eyes from below would not reach the first floor, the first floor was walled with glass all around so that the excellent view could be commanded to a full extent, which was equipped with kitchen and visitor’s toilet. While functioning as what is called LDK, the first floor was assumed to be used for such varieties of activities out of daily life as treating guests, creating music with friends, or taking care of his bicycles.
A bedroom, storing facilities, facilities using water were arranged on the second floor, which was leveled high with a roof of conventional appearance to join in the existing rows of old houses. The high-leveled second floor was walled around with wide openings distributed equally for natural ventilation ease.
A thermal storage system using midnight electricity was laid into slab concrete, and on the second floor, a far-infrared radiation film floor heating system was supplemented. And in summer, it is expected that the balcony and eaves will block the sunlight, and the breeze from Mt. Rokko will carry indoor heat through.
Steel-frame construction was adopted, complying with the client’s wishes. As physical labor was obliged, small 100 mm by 100 mm H-section steel was selected, and each construction material was limited to weigh about 100 kg for carrying up to the site. A steel plate of 4.5 mm thick was laid for the cantilever balcony all around to make up for the loss of level structural plane caused by a giant cutout of the second floor for the stairway.
Observing the environment without responding downright resulted in this house of hollow bare mortar floor ceilinged high and walled around with glass. I feel I have found a way to cope, with an equal footing, with the environment peculiar to this scenic site where the environment, the architecture, and the resident’s various things of various styles and ages are mingling with each other.