takuyahosokai, the studio led by japanese architect takuya hosokai, has completed a concrete residential building in niigata that contains a total of 34 dwellings. titled ‘housing complex niigata III’, the 10-storey project is the third in a series of residential developments that the architect has designed for the city. a number of traditional houses still exist on neighboring plots, while the site is in close proximity to a variety of cultural facilities, shops, universities, offices, and a park.
all images by naomichi sode, unless otherwise stated
‘in order to integrate an apartment block in a location where various programs interact with each other, we considered an aggregate composed of 34 types of dwelling that cater to differing lifestyles,’ says takuya hosokai. ‘we tried to reconstruct the relationship between inside and outside spaces in collective housing in an urbanized context. we designed from inside to outside and also outside to inside, considering the separating role of the perimeter wall, the slab and structural frame, and the use of a terrace as a transition zone.’
the envelope walls are used as a buffer zone on the outside of the terraces to control the feeling of distance between inside and the outside. meanwhile, the openings have been positioned to prevent direct sightlines from inside to outside and vice versa — ensuring privacy. the design team also explains that the relationship between the columns of the structural frame and the slab allows the internal space to be divided softly, causing a gradual spatial change from the inside to out.
through the construction of the building, the architects wanted to express both a human scale and the density of the city — all while maintaining visual coherence. to achieve this, the dwellings have been grouped in 2-3 storey volumes with a similar proportion to the old wooden row houses nearby. ‘the resulting expression of the thin outer envelope of walls and slabs therefore provides a human scale,’ takuya hosokai continues. ‘simultaneously the structural frame adopts an urban scale comprising a 10-storey housing complex.’
the urban scale of columns and beams within the rooms seeks to give residents an awareness of the neighboring dwellings. ‘in recent years, with rebuilding progressing and old buildings in this area being lost, we envisage this structure as archival architecture, inheriting fragments of the historical cityscape and expressing memories in the future,’ says the architect. meanwhile, as niigata is a car-oriented city with heavy snowfall expected during winter months, piloti were used at ground level to enable as many parking bays as possible.
the architects explain that the structural frame enables the slab, outer envelope, and the boundary walls to be freely designed in plan. ‘the outer envelope and the cantilevered slabs are rigidly joined,’ says takuya hosokai. ‘by stacking 2 to 3-storey walls, it reduces the deflection effect on the cantilever slab and instead produces a long-term reinforcing effect. for long-term loads, the outer envelope reinforces the slabs, and the slab laterally supports the outer envelope against seismic forces.’