House in Toshima by Yoshitaka Uchino

House in Toshima is a modern house located in Tokyo, Japan, designed in 2020 by Yoshitaka Uchino.

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Located in a crowded shopping area in Tokyo, a simple white volume has been placed for two generations of a family. A void which functions as a terrace in second floor penetrates the volume, providing natural light and fresh air to the whole space.

The terrace is “Void of the light”, creating a small universe around this void of the light.

The building has two stories, and areas are clearly articulated. The spaces for elderly couple are placed in first floor, and the younger family are in the second. Public space in first floor has inner void which induces natural light and air from the void of the light which adjoins the inner void.

The idea is to embody a sharpened minimal beauty of the light and shadow with as less elements as possible. The design is simple. Inserting a void covered by glasses into the building and creating an inner void next to the outer void, the light would be brought about to the spaces of the building.

Light from the void brings about shade and shadow in the walls and ceilings, inspiring abundant depth in the spaces inside. Shadow which seasonally changes from time to time shows the fact that all things exist in the mixture of the light and shadow, and the spaces connect to the form.

Considering the environment where many people are walking around, and cars passing constantly, the void of the light provides new relationship between the architecture and the city. Although the building has smaller windows thinking about the volume, the void assures high privacy while offering abundant natural light.

Transitional beauty of direct and reflected natural light would be expected, since light from the void which are all surrounded by transparent glasses light up the walls and ceilings inside.

Looking the sky from the terrace and form inside the building in daytime remind us the profound beauty of wildlife nature including light, air, wind, cloud, and rain. Seeing the night sky from there make us aware of great existence of the cosmos.

Furthermore, taking in the sky into the inner spaces revitalizes the relationship between the nature and human being. Since the void is stretched out to the city, it works as a node between the city and the architecture, introducing more natural light and wind. Contrary to our daily life in which we see the sky from a distance, we see and feel the sky with the whole body. When it rains, seeing the rain falling from the sky to the void through the glass make us re-recognize hidden brightness of rain and water.

Inner spaces and outside spaces are connected via the inner void and the glasses which face each other reflect spaces of each voids and cities nearby, producing infinite deepness by making the boundary between real and false ambiguous.

During the day, soft light from the void crushed and reflected in the walls and the ceilings illuminates the activities inside the house. The situation is reversed at night. The light inside the building illustrates the city through the void, thus, “Void of the light” is transformed into “Vessel of the light”.

Photography by Nobuki Taoka

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- by Matt Watts