Taking notions of minimalism to new levels, Japanese architecture firm Schemata decided to breathe new life into a traditional two-story house by stripping it down to its most skeletal elements–and then just leaving it.
Located in the Saitama prefecture of Japan, the home had been conceived by its original owner, who, giving direct input to an architect, arranged everything to fit as many rooms as possible, each with their own distinct feel. When the owner’s son took the property over, it was time for architect Jo Nagasaka to come in and open things up a bit.
“Each room had a different taste, with particular details and uniquely shaped windows. Accumulation of such strong intentions or “love” for the house felt a bit too heavy,” says Nagasaka. “In order to alleviate such heaviness, we removed some of spacial components, sorted out some components with common characters, and created a sense of integrity–which is a new form of ‘love’–we intend to present in this house.”
The biggest overhaul came with the walls. To give the house a less claustrophobic feel, Nagasaka tore down many of the existing walls, leaving only the support beams. To connect the various rooms of the first and second floor–and to spread as much natural light as possible throughout the space–Nagasaka ripped out the entire floor from one of the central second floor rooms, creating an atrium-like opening. (Or as he puts it, a “void.”)
What remains is a home that hasn’t completely abandoned its mid-20th-century origins, but rather has been updated to accentuate many of the original design’s virtues. Complemented by the remaining white walls, and sparse neutral colored decor, the house has very much has a roughed-in, half-finished look, but still resembles something you could comfortably live in.