The title of this project, “Zero Quantity House”, is due to the conceptual approach to this renovation/addition project where the sum of volumetric addition and subtraction made to the existing house equals zero.
This is a residential renovation and addition project for a Japanese couple who runs an importing company. The company sells imported household products from the U.S. and Europe to domestic housewives across Japan. The company uses the living room of this house to display their products to customers. The project is located in a well established neighbor of Yokohama where the neighbor is populated with multifamily houses.
This project turned an existing house they owned into a space where they can invite guests to entertain while exhibiting items for sale in the living room.
Through dialogues with the client it was decided to create shelves in the living room to display products, and to renovate the garden as a contemporary Zen garden, and to build a contemporary teahouse to entertain guests in the traditional tea-ceremony style.
Before the renovation/addition, the house had a backyard garden with conventional soil. The garden faced a kindergarten gymnasium to the north. From the gymnasium’s 2nd floor windows one was able to look into the living space of this house, which did not provide privacy to the residents of this house.
New design added white floating boxes finished in stucco in the backyard which provides visual privacy from the neighboring gymnasium, while the floating boxes function as storage space. There are a box sunken in the garden, a vertical box standing, and a horizontal floating box. Geometrically, these boxes are connected with each other, and then further they are connected to the original house by a steel truss. The steel truss provides structural stability to the house vertically and horizontally.
The locations of these boxes are three dimensionally arranged in such a way to satisfy the following 3 points:
1) The garden at the ground level is open and wide.
2) Provides visual privacy from the neighboring kindergarten gymnasium.
3) Provides a view of the hill to the north. Although this is a narrow view, this view can be seen from the living room looking north, in the narrow void space between adjacent buildings to the north.
The garden is finished with white gravels in the manner of a Japanese Zen garden. Since the living room faces north, sunlight can be brought to living room by reflection only, by the whiteness of the floating surfaces in the garden.