Flagpole in Nakameguro House / SALHAUS
Text description provided by the architects. This tiny house is located in a densely populated area of central Tokyo. Forty-five square meters is not an extremely small lot in Tokyo, but a flag lot of this size is scarce. We thought it would be challenging to plan a house here when we first visited the site. Meanwhile, the client said it was just the right size for him. When we design a house, we usually try to find a general form that is not specific to the client’s sensibilities but can enjoy the maximum comfort of the site.
In this case, however, we felt that we had to find a more sharpened building type and an exceptional comfort unique to this site while synchronizing with the client’s physical senses. We settled the basic framework of the house at an early stage, shaping the plan of the building like a flag-and-pole to match the shape of the site and putting an outdoor staircase on the roadside, which provides the vertical flow. The volume composition of the building, with the pole being two stories and the flag being three stories, was derived from the north diagonal line restriction. The first floor is an extra room which can rent, the second and third floors are living spaces for the clients, and the roof of the pole is a forest-like garden.
A furniture staircase connects the living room on the second floor and the bedroom on the third floor. The second and third floors have a loop-like spatial structure that allows the client to enjoy life while moving back and forth between the cozy interior space and the wild exterior space. Once we settled this framework, we determined the dimensions and materials through a series of detailed meetings with the client based on his sensory needs.
At first glance, the elements brought in as his favorites, such as the commercial kitchen, open-air bath, and many plants, seem disproportionate to this tiny house. Still, the space and lifestyle are in perfect balance, creating a unique sense of comfort. Sitting on the third-floor Engawa, he can face the unique Tokyo landscape of high-rise buildings beyond the low roofline. The landing of the outdoor staircase is like a balcony, where he can greet the residents of the neighboring apartment. In a small site like a gap in the city, we could greatly expand the living spaces by the responsive relationship with the surrounding environment discovered by placing our bodies in the gap.