hidden within a narrow street, a 52-year old building quietly peeks out at the dead-end in the center of tokyo. before inheriting the concrete-built ‘house in sangenjaya’, it once served as a clinic owned by the client’s grandfather and as the private house for his family and with this. schemata architects was charged with overhauling the run-down building and due to the site’s sentimental value, the existing structure was kept instead of demolishing and constructing anew.


all images © kenta hasegawa

 

 

schemata architects adopted the approach of preserving the structure but reorganizing the internal layout to cater to the new activities. an aim was for the building to eventually evolve into a place frquented by the community again. since the client wanted to invite friends and people into the new house, the small gallery (to be operated by the client himself) has been re-situated to the southwest corner on the first floor and the living quarters on the second floor. the remaining space on the first floor will be rented out to a tenant, hoping the space will mediate between the building and the city.

 

 

due to the age in which the building was constructed, the floorplan is generous in spite of its centrality in tokyo– compared to today. half of the second floor is a spacious balcony and connects the doma (meaning an ‘earth space’ in japanese) and mediates between the public zone (tenant space and gallery) on the first floor and the private space (house) on the second floor, connecting all activities to generate lively interactions in daily life. the distinctive charm of the old structure was retained as much as possible; the exposed exterior facades are kept as they are, while all infrastructure is encased in the service core finished with painted plasterboard to give an industrial aesthetic.

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