Even though I have nothing, I’m quite happy living like this.
In honor of Valentine’s day, here’s a post in honor of my love, who always comes before anyone else: architecture.
If you know me, you might know I have a long-standing love affair with Japan. In elementary school I had a minor obsession with Bento boxes (that continues to this day– you should have seen how excited I got about my new lunchbox). I learned Japanese in the hopes that my best friend’s family would bring me with them on a vacation to Tokyo (it didn’t pan out). Even when choosing study abroad, I was a solid 50/50 split between Japan and Denmark, so I applied to both. Obviously, I didn’t get in.
However, I still continued to be inspired by Japan, whether it be embracing a Wabi-Sabi lifestyle or their designs. The current design project I am working on is an extraordinarily small communal living space in a diverse neighborhood of Copenhagen, and I’ve found myself consistently drawn to Japanese precedents in communal housing. Here’s a bit of a case study I did for class that is helping me stay in love with architecture.
Called LT Josai, this unassuming residential facade hides an architectural masterpiece within its walls.
Considered a “share house” (a popular form of living in Japan), each unrelated resident gets their own room while sharing living spaces and restrooms with their fellows.
Based on photos, one would find this “share house” extraordinarily spacious.
Surprisingly, there is only an average of 23 square meters (245 square feet) per person. The reason the spaces do not feel intrusive is due to the strategic creation of areas that accommodate a range of group sizes. As you move upwards, spaces become more private. The area most commonly cited as the residents’ favorite is the casual tatami mat room, above. However, there are many other nooks available if solitude is the aim, as well as private bedrooms.
The multi-story space is unique in that it maintains a visual connection between spaces.
Additionally, one of its strongest aspects is the creation of spaces. Though the building is quite open (save for the private rooms), there are many definitive “spots” within. Thresholds are created between the public and the private, allowing residents perches from which they can determine if they want to interact or not. These thresholds are unique to this space, allowing a mental buffer between the public and private, and making this shared space a better place to live.
The designers, Naruse Inokuma Architects, are geniuses.
Seriously, I’m in love with this place. Let’s see how similar my building turns out….
That’s all for now. Do you care about this stuff? Wanna see more? (or never see this again?) Let me know.
Phrase of the week:
Læser du arkitektur?
(Lay-suh doo arch-ee-tec-tour)
Meaning “do you study architecture?” if you have to ask, they probably don’t. We can be spotted only at night, wearing black, carrying bags larger than the ones under our eyes. Also, we’re like vegans in that we’ll probably bring it up within 10 seconds of meeting you.