Unlike other renovation projects developed by Roovice, House on the way followed its own path since the beginning of the process.
In fact, this 4-storeys house located in Setagaya (Tokyo) was conceived to be built entirely by the clients and not by professional workers. DIY is the key word here, as made clear since the first meeting between the architects and the young owners. Their idea was to build themselves their dream house, with the necessary support from Roovice regarding the technical parts of the construction which required an expert’s supervision.
To them, “this gives to the atmosphere a sense of satisfaction and memories that are hardly achievable otherwise”.
Those premises led the way for the design team to experiment how far DIY can be pushed in architecture.
As soon as the clients (a married couple in their twenties) acquired the former office building, they felt it would have been their home forever. This convinced them to follow the brave idea of shaping the spaces according to their needs with their methods: from choosing the layout to finding the proper materials, the couple wanted to cover every single detail of the work with the advice from Roovice when needed.
Hence, the first step was dismantling the existing place and removing all the ornaments until the sole reinforced concrete skeleton remained. After the structure had been freed up, the construction continued by arranging one room at once: the priority was obviously given by the necessities of the family after the initial idea of completing everything in the shortest time possible. The approach changed as soon as the couple realised how much effort and time are required to achieve quality for each space, considering the inexperience of the two.
Beside Roovice’ support, the husband’s father helped the spouses thanks to his personal experience as a retired carpenter. This added an emotional level to the project by bringing back memories and nostalgia from childhood, when your parents were explaining and teaching you the way.
Throughout the whole process, the main task for Roovice was to design a floor plan as open and flexible as possible to accommodate all the DIY features: only technical aspects were provided by the studio, granting yet complete freedom to householders for the layout, furniture and materiality.
The name House on the way derives from the lack of any plan for the construction and from the ever changing needs faced by the clients. So, it became on the way since none of the parts involved had any idea of what would have followed next, resulting in an almost 10-year work in progress.
This long development is the result of the owners taking every decision by themselves. To find the proper elements for each space, they had to visit showrooms and shops on their own. After all, as explained by the owners themselves, “the real thrill about renovations is being able to freely remodel the house according to the changes in the family”.