The House in Kamisawa designed by Tato Architects beautifully reconfigures a traditional Japanese wooden house into a functional and modern space using curved walls, preserving the history and essence of the traditional design.
The design was inspired by the "Hut with the Arc Wall", a public toilet in Shodoshima, where the curved walls created a unique and functional space. The curved walls in House in Kamisawa, constructed with 20mm curved plywood and 25mm squared rods, divide the space into separate rooms while still preserving the history and essence of the traditional Japanese wooden house.
This project was commissioned by a young couple who wanted to make their well-preserved one-storey wooden house more suitable for their lifestyle. Tato Architects rose to the challenge by removing the unnecessary parts of the house and inserting curved walls to create functional spaces. The guest room, bathroom, and bedroom are surrounded by the curved walls, while the rest of the space is dedicated to the kitchen, storage, dining, and living areas. The interior space of the bathroom was finished with fiber reinforced polycarbonate, and the exterior wall was newly cladded with burnt cedar boards.
The use of curved walls in the design presented some challenges, such as the limited budget and the difficulty in realizing the desired space. The initial solution of constructing the walls with 20mm curved plywood proved to be insufficient, but the builders were able to overcome the challenges and find a solution that fit within the budget. The interior space of the house was finished with a double-layered polycarbonate ceiling, while the door and window fittings were reused from the original house.
The House in Kamisawa is a perfect example of how to preserve the history and essence of a traditional wooden house while still making it functional and suitable for modern living. The design showcases the potential for reconfigurations using curved walls, creating unique and functional spaces that pay homage to the past. The simple gesture of using curved walls has transformed the House in Kamisawa into a new and beautiful space.