07-01-2003

Refraction House, Kioshi Sey Takeyama + Amorphe

Sport & Wellness, Factories, Restaurants,

Wood, Metal, Glass, Cement,

Located in a residential suburb of Nagoya, Japan, Refraction House’s refined composition of volumes stands out amidst a profusion of prefabricated homes and massive apartment blocks.



Refraction House, Kioshi Sey Takeyama + Amorphe Architect Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama, founder of the well-known Amorphe group and respected theorist of digital spaces, did not miss this opportunity to experiment with daring volumetric compositions and unusual combinations of materials in real life.
The building consists of two volumes which differ considerably: behind the body of the main building, a long, distorted box made of steel and covered with zinc, a static square tower rises in opposition, with solid load-bearing walls made of cement blocks.
The main façade, in which the front door opens with its clean, minimalist lines, is covered with continuous plates of rusted metal; the side of the house facing onto the road is almost blind, made of galvanised zinc, the only openings being the projecting matt glass window of the bedroom and the tiny kitchen window.

All living spaces are contained in the main volume of the house, a large open space two storeys high containing the living room, dining room and kitchen on the ground floor and a loft bedroom. The tower contains a Japanese style guest room on the ground floor, overlooking a small garden of stones and bamboo, and the home’s only bathroom on the upper floor, connected to the main body of the building by a cube of glass which forms the only visible link between the two bodies of the building.
The front door opens directly onto the main space in the home; a glass gangway running the entire length of the outside wall leads to the mezzanine bedroom.

The particular way in which Refraction House is organised, with all the home’s primary functions taking place in a single open space, reflects the personality of the client, a restaurant owner who lives in the house alone, and has had no problems with the lack of privacy or the tortuous routes connecting the various spaces in the house.
Takeyama responded to the client’s request for an all-white space with natural lighting with a sensorial form of architecture in which the broken lines of slanted walls amplify space and the border between light and shadow is in continuous fluctuation. The hieratic white walls are opposed by sensuous floors covered in materials with different tactile and acoustic characteristics.

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