Located in Tokyo, Japan is the minimalist residence Oyamadai House by Japanese architects, Front Office. Situated in the neighbourhood of Setagaya, this 120 square metre house is enclosed by existing housing along all its sides. Rather than building walls to create a sense of privacy, the clients opted for an alternative approach: a home with open terraces and ample glazing.
The site, shaped like a flag, is bound by very close neighbours, and rather than try to retreat behind walls for better assurance of privacy, Oyamadai House takes the opportunity to keep things as open as possible. The two storey residence features a generous roof terrace that is accessible via an external staircase and a sliding glazing that opens onto the garden.
Being enclosed on all sides “protects” the Oyamadai House rather than exposing it. This opens up the façade of the residence as much as possible, and opens up to the surroundings as a landscape. The landscape on the ground floor is consists of an amorphous concrete surface that disperses the transitions from the exterior to the interior, while the upper floor landings and balconies extends the living space to the outside.
Oyamadai House is a minimalist abode that provides privacy through open terraces and glazing
On the ground floor, there are two bedroom spaces with ensuite bathrooms, which have access to the garden. On the upper floor, the kitchen and living areas are linked with the roof terrace. Huge windows on the upper floor are positioned to allow views of the river valley, over the roofs of the neighbouring residences. The space of Oyamadai House is loosely divided into cooking and lounging areas by a mesh-covered stairwell.
To allow for large expanses of glazing in this timber-framed residence, the architects devised a two cross-shaped buttress design. As a small budget was required, Oyamadai House was built with a wooden structure in a disaster prone area, requiring substantial sheer walls to resist earthquakes. Acting like flying buttresses, these large X-shaped walls push the structure outside the plan without interfering with the openness of home.