House in Tsukimiyama is a minimalist residence located in Kobe, Japan, designed by Tato Architects. The client in this project, House in Tsukimiyama, was hoping for a lifestyle in which a main building, containing the living room and other rooms, would be linked to an annex-style bathroom by a tarp-covered courtyard. However, as it was necessary for the door to function as a fire exit, there were legal limitations regarding the size and type of glass that could be used. The question was whether the garden and the annex, connected via the door, would then seem unified. To deal with this situation, the architect took the bold move of incorporating the garden into the house and making a courtyard. Between the courtyard and the living room, they used a door with single-pane of glass and light wooden fittings, and in the bathroom annex, we used a curtain to partition it off as a section of the courtyard.
The aluminum-sash door in the courtyard can be opened at any time to let fresh air in from the outside. Creating a constant link to the outside air made it possible to avoid a stuffy hothouse-type atmosphere despite the huge top light. A pressure ventilator is installed above the courtyard, allowing it to be quickly ventilated. By distributing the rectangular planes on the L-shaped site, the designers positioned the living space between the outer courtyard, which has the character of an inner courtyard surrounded by neighboring buildings, and the inner garden.
The Tsukimiyama project made it clear how much potential there is for urban gardens. The external environment in an urban area often lacks shade and proper ventilation, and because it is also prone to be a habitat for mosquitoes and other pests, it is difficult to spend a comfortable time in the garden. But by using a screen to filter out the insects, the courtyard becomes a comfortable place. Moreover, the fact that a courtyard is to a certain extent open to the environment without impairing privacy, makes it an important interface between the inside and outside in an urban house, which tends to be rather closed. The courtyard also functions as an important intermediate space, both in terms of the indoor climate and communication.
Photography by Shinkenchiku Sha
View more works by Tato Architects