Column and Slab House, Tokyo
When we first published FT Architects’ work, the e-House, in W*106 we knew we were on to something good. Forty-year old Fukusima worked in Toyo Ito’s office for several years before setting up his own firm, FT Architects, with partner Hiroko Tominaga, and Slab and Column House is the third residential project from the young practice.
see more images of the Column and Slab House
The house is located in a densely built part of Tokyo and sits in an especially small and narrow site. With only the façade side free, looking towards a quiet street, the project’s main challenge is similar to many Tokyo residential projects, and presented itself from the architect’s very first visit to the site: lack of space.
Fukusima and Tominaga chose to work with a combination of modernist methods, like the geometric grid, mixed with traditional Japanese architecture elements, such as raised floors and columns. The whole design is based on a three-dimensional grid frame of beams and columns. This provides both the necessary support for a site that needed ground reinforcement and also creates a main framework for the house’s interior layout, allowing cantilevered elements to extend beyond the grid’s front and the back limits, creating extra living space inside.
The structure spreads across three levels of different ceiling heights. The ground floor is an open-plan, transitional space between the street and the actual house. The first floor includes the more private areas of the house, the bedroom and bathroom, and its slightly lower ceiling creates a more intimate atmosphere. The second floor is the one hosting the kitchen, dining and living areas, and features generous openings and a higher ceiling allowing extra breathing space for the house’s more social areas.
The Column and Slab House is a simple, clear geometric structure, made mainly of reinforced concrete and partly wood, showcasing the architect’s intentions. ’I wanted to make up rules within Tokyo’s urban chaos. This frame system also relates to the traditional Japanese space, and I like to imagine extending this house concept into Tokyo, both historically and visually,’ explains Fukushima.