The site of this project is located at the upper end of a residential area, spreading over a hill at the foot of the mountain Moiwa and overlooking the city center of Sapporo.

Building Name: Sandwich House
Studio Name: Akasaka Shinichiro Atelier
Design Team: Shinichiro Akasaka, Masahiro Matsushima
Area: 162㎡
Year: 2019
Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Consultants: Assist Home Co., Ltd (Construction Company)
Photography Credits: Koji Sakai

Sandwich House by Akasaka Shinichiro Atelier - Sheet5
©Koji Sakai

The client, who runs a design office, made three clear requests. The first request was to leave as many existing trees as possible. The second was to create an easy access from the road level, which is about 2.5 m higher than the site level. The third was to design a residential house, where one can enjoy views of the city and Ishikari Mountains spreading to the north.

Sandwich House by Akasaka Shinichiro Atelier - Sheet6
©Koji Sakai

Challenged by those requests, we decided to locate the building in a part of the site with no existing trees close to the front road with an easy access. Thus, there is a semi ground floor anchored to the slope of the site and the ground floor on the same level as the front road. In order to provide the house with city and mountain views, it was necessary to build another floor at a level about 4.5 m or higher than the ground floor, taking into consideration the topography of the site, the height of the neighboring house and the location of the trees.

Sandwich House by Akasaka Shinichiro Atelier - Sheet7
©Koji Sakai

As a result, we have a single volume house, divided by an “void” in the middle, while there are other living spaces at the lower and upper parts. This large is functionally and structurally necessary to meet the client’s requests, yet in terms of construction costs we can say that, in a manner of speaking, it is nearly “empty”: instead of covering this void with a heat insulating layer, we installed simple window frames to minimize construction work and costs. In addition, transparency of this space creates a dialogue between life and scenery. It becomes a place between the private aspect of the residence and the public aspect of the neighbourhood, a semi-outdoor multipurpose space: a windbreak room in winter or a shaded airy front yard in summer.

Sandwich House by Akasaka Shinichiro Atelier - Sheet8
©Koji Sakai

It is possible to say that this semi-outdoor space in a building, with insulation in lower and upper parts just like layers in a sandwich, is an inefficient configuration in terms of thermal environment of Hokkaido. However, by introducing a “temperature unevenness” in one building, rather than to speak exclusively about heat insulation efficiency, we thought that it could be an opportunity to create a new northern lifestyle as well as to increase variety of activities: basically, to create a meaningful space with a deep connection to the environment.

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