this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'

ogawa architect design completes ‘vale’ as an atelier and home

 

Tucked in a densely populated area of middle-rise residential buildings in Kawasaki, Japan, ‘Vale’ takes shape as a sculptural, reinforced concrete volume hosting an atelier and residence, both completed by local practice Ogawa Architect Design. With little sunshine, weak ventilation, and blocked lines of sight plaguing the surrounding outdoor environment, the architects decided ‘to create a space inside the house that resembles the outside, instead of looking for clues externally, and explore ways to enjoy that environment.’ 

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'
all images © Takumi Ota

 

 

a four-level design responding to the site’s limiting conditions 

 

In light of those existing conditions and following its design concept, the team at Ogawa Architect Design assigned a height of eight meters to balance out the area’s altitude zone and a floor area of 126 sqm to compensate for the four-meter-long existing road. Despite its relatively small size, the practice successfully maximized the site’s potential by spreading the concrete volume upward to create four floors — one underground layer and three overground levels connected vertically by a spiraling staircase.

 

Upon accessing the first floor, residents are met by the entrance door to ‘Vale’ on their right and a small bridge surrounded by glass connecting to the studio space located in front of them. Separated from the living room, the atelier brings a much-needed sense of tension to the living area. 

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'
‘Vale’ is located in a residential area of Kawasaki

 

 

recreating the atmopshere and outlines of a small valley 

 

Furthermore, a ten-meter-deep atrium emerges at the center of the house-atelier, dividing the long volume from east to west with a width of 3.6 meters and a length of 11.4 meters. Connecting both sides are four small bridges built horizontally. ‘The 10-meter gradation of natural light, the reverberating voices and sounds and deep tranquility, and the convection of warm and cold air, like a small valley, line of sight, lines of flow, and phenomena naturally gather at the center of this residence, writes Ogawa Architect Design.

 

Together, the sloping outlines and wide atrium offer rich and diverse visual impressions from different angles. ‘The outer wall slopes east and south when viewed from the road. Looking at it from a distance, it looks calm, and when you get closer, it looks a little more stern. Its mere appearance looks like the entrance to a valley, but it is an urban façade that was born to cross a tough road slanting line. Looking at the houses and condominiums lined up in the residential area from a different perspective, they look like they are sinking into the city’s roof rather than standing on the ground. With that in mind, I named this building ‘Vale’, as in’small valley,’ concludes the practice

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'
creating different visual impressions from different vantage points

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'
building the concrete volume vertically, infusing it with daylight

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'
a small spiral staircase connecting all four floors

this home-office by ogawa architect design in japan evokes the 'entrance to a small valley'
the concrete walls slope and divide ‘Vale’ from east to west

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