ABE House

Location: Tama-shi, Tokyo
Architects: UAo
Project Leader: Mari Ito , Yuki Tarumi
Structural engineers: Kanebako Structural Engineers
General constructors: Hanabusa Construction
Photographer:Daici Ano

Site area: 109m2
Building area: 44m2
Total floor area: 88m2
Structure: steel frame; 3 stories
Principal use: private residence


This building's site is a sectionalized residential district close to Tokyo. On each surrounding site, there is a court yard in front of the house, and almost the houses are built in a similar layout.


The primary demand of the client regarding the construction of this house consisted, not in filling it with convenient features, in decorating it beautifully, or in having the largest possible number of rooms, but in realizing family connections, and creating a simple design with a sense of presence in which a garden would be present to offer a couple some rest after a long day of work.

In this narrow site, arranging a parking space and a building in the maximum possible portion leaves only a small space for gardens.
In these conditions, in order to ensure a "garden with depth,"the box was not placed in parallel to the site, but rather in diagonal. With this technique, the feeling of "a garden with depth"was ensured.

The client used to live "Japanese style," using tatami mats. As sitting on the floor brings one's field of view closer to ground level, the client was able to feel closer to nature. This time, however, the client desired a standing, western style lifestyle with sofas. By bringing the floor level down, it was possible make the garden appear at the same eye level to someone who is sitting on chair as it would to someone sitting "Japanese style" on a tatami mat.

The building has elegant adornments, not too heavily ornamented, and is structured with an exterior appearance made up of both organic (=soft, curved arches) and inorganic (utilizing the feel of natural mortar materials) matter.
Creating a building out of 3 boxes shows a great sense of presence. Consequently, the design was kept simple, with no exaggerations.
The whole was built to be "elegant," even while its exterior appearance was built with simple materials, by using natural "arch" designs to punctuate the rooms and windows

While the arches and the interior spaces each possess their own independent atmospheres, minute glances to their continuation show that they all have an exquisite mutual relation. In a fashion different from the usual planning to control the mutual linking of the rooms with walls, the intervals between the places themselves were softened into elements which bring out a certain three-dimensionality in order to create a gradation of existence for these connections.