Team Living House, an aesthetic and philosophical achievement

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A client’s request to spend more time with family nowhere else but in their home led Japanese architect Masatoshi Hirai of Masatoshi Hirai Architects Atelier to reflect on how modern residential design is way too far from the reality of each family life and communities, making they all look alike. According to Masatoshi Hirai’s opinion, it seems as if the personalities of inhabitants and family were lost, in favor of indiscernible galleries for public display. This reflection laid the foundation of Team Living House, a renovation project of an apartment in downtown Tokyo, Japan.

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Located on the fifth floor of a 1970’s block, Team Living House ‘s layout is based on a principle quite simple: unity rather than individualism. Private rooms are foregone and instead of being divided by individual, the rooms are a series of themed communal spaces divided by function. All the space except the bathroom is shared among the family: beds are all in the bedroom, desks are all in the study room, storage is all in a family closet, and so on. Team Living House is designed for inhabitants to think one’s activity as one unity and perceive the living environment, and the personalities within it, as ‘a team’ the individual can act together with.

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Team Living House is like a whole living room but slightly divided into various environments to support each member of the family to behave in his/her own way

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The communal spaces are organized in three strips below a newly created, triple barrel-vaulted ceiling.  The first strip contains the bedroom and bathroom, the second the study room and the closet and the third one a combined kitchen, lounge and dining area with and adjoining terrace by the entrance. After raising the ceiling, some of the chunky concrete beams remained exposed, creating an unfinished appearance that contrasts with the simple whites, natural wood tones and pale greens that comprise the materials used in the renovation.

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Photography is by Takumi Ota

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