Japanese architects Schemata have completed the renovation of a house in Tokyo by covering parts of the exterior and revealing elements of the interior.
The facade was simplified by painting the brickwork white and adding concrete steps, while beams are exposed and glass partitions added to the interior. Instead of the usual process of renovation which modifies the exterior and interior of the house, covering and hiding the original materials, the house is subtly renovated using ordinary building material.
"Therefore, the neighbors notice that the house changed somehow, without being able to tell what and how exactly it has been modified. We tried to penetrate the gap of their unconsciousness, by limiting their ability to precisely identify the change. To achieve this, we didn’t deny or affirm the old touches, giving them the same importance as the new touches, testing the various meanings of renovation and the personal experience of inverting the outside and inside of the house." — Schemata Architects
The existing house was built during the post-war era of Japan, when Japan was under the strong influence of western culture. Superficial imitations of western architecture styles were prevalent in the designs of private houses Japan, which were often termed as “Provence style”, “English cottage style” and the like.
This house was an imitation of a traditional English cottage made of brick. It had a triangular wooden gable roof, typical of the English cottage, but the roof was surrounded by parapets extruding from the building for some reason. At a glance, the house looks like a reinforced concrete structure; but actually, it is a wooden structure reinforced by steel frames in order to reduce the number of columns to make it look like a concrete building. While the house is full of superficial or “fake” features, it somehow retains a certain charm as well as a warm and homely atmosphere. Rather than denying its mediocrity of the post-war period, we embraced the existing features as they were and renovated the house into a home celebrating a contemporary life style.