The bed town with the ordinary scape of concrete block fences : Takatsuki City, Osaka.

In topography, the wind breezes from Southwest to Northeast all year round, as this area is located along the Yodo River Line where the river flows from Lake Biwa to the Osaka Bay, surrounded by the Rokko mountain range & Tamba higlands in the Northwest, and Ikoma & Kii Mountains in the Southeast.

Project Name: Othello house
Architect Name: MASA Architects

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In history, this city has rapidly developed as the bed town for Kyoto and Osaka from 1970’s, since this city is located nearly at the center between these cities, and rapid trains of Japanese National Railways (currently ‘JR’) stops by at this city.  This planned area located in front of JR Takatsuki Station has gone with the flow and has developed as a detached residential area almost 40 years ago. Recently, houses have been being rebuilt for matching younger generations. In urban plan, it is a typical urban residential area where one section is about 120ᶷ, and the site is surrounded by concrete block fences, so that each house keeps each pleasure.The planned area is located at the southwestern corner of the residential section. The western side faces fields that are rare and valuable in the city.

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Furthermore, this area is where the owner spent her school days (until high school), located next door to her parents’ house, which is a very familiar land to her.

Design intent

Takatsuki City is located nearly at the center between Osaka and Kyoto, thriving as a bed town for these cities. This area in front of JR Takatsuki station has developed as a detached residential area almost 40 years ago. It is a typical urban residential area where 4m width roads run along, each section divided around 120ᶷ, surrounded by concrete block fences.

Othello house By MASA Architects - Sheet6The design of this project focuses on not turning backs on the town, but seeking a house which share pleasure with a town. Usually, the 1st floor is surrounded by a fence, which from a resident’s point of view, the living room (etc) tend to be quite dull and poorly ventilated. Also, fences tend to cause inorganic and insular space.

Firstly, we reverse the function of the 1st and 2nd floor in the typical urban residential area, and then we didn’t set fences. We arranged only the bedroom on the 1st floor without fences. Owing to this arrangement, we could make a garden which neighbors could also enjoy together, and a car park which neighborhood children play when there aren’t the cars. We have made the insular street so open that the resident and neighbors could enjoy each other.

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We also have arranged all of the other functions on the 2nd floor. There is plenty of lighting and ventilation on this floor.In addition, this rearrangement provides privacy because of the different spending places between the owner and the neighbors. In order to enhance the character of each floor, we have shifted the axes of 1st & 2nd floor by 45 degrees to archive different nice relations on each floor with neighbors.1st floor has the same axis with the town in order to connect with the town continuously. 2nd floor has a diagonal axis against the town’s axis to enhance privacy. Moreover, 1st floor has an image of a protection by the mud wall like concrete block fences , while 2nd floor has an image of an attractive floating space like a tree house for example.

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Next, in the future, this house can connect with their parents’ house who lives next door.  Their parents could live on the only 1st floor of the connected house, and children’s household could live on the 2nd floor. It is possible to keep living in the familiar town even though they are elderly.

Othello house makes boundaries ambiguous, share rich environment with neighbors, and enable dwellers to live in the dear town for long period of time.


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