Privacy is an essential element in any dwelling, as it gives the inhabitants a sense of security and privacy within a physical space. The increasing amount of noise and visual pollution has posed a great threat to the idea of a home, which might be highly difficult to achieve in urban contexts. Almost like a reflex to the city’s bustle, many architecture projects turn themselves into cubic volumes with little openings. However, to configure a simple mass into porous forms for natural light and proper living standards is a great challenge.
Takamatsu, Shikoku, is the capital of Kagawa prefecture in Japan; as an entry point to Shikoku Island—although small in size—it is filled with industrial activities. House in Takamatsu, designed by Japanese firm Fujiwaramuro Architects, counters this energy with a ribbon-like facade with thin stripes of openings. Surrounded by traditional houses in the neighbourhood, the facades act like an armour that protects preserved peace and tranquility on the inside.
The massive volume is held up with four structural pillars placed at four corners of the house, where four vertical voids embrace programmatic spaces in-between. Each individual space opens up to one another, in both horizontal and vertical axes, creating an interlocking connection in visuality, ventilation, and most importantly, lighting. By also having a great light-well in the middle of the form, all three floors receive a generous amount of breathing space.
Not only does the light-well serve as an agent for natural light, it also adjusts the degrees of privacy, refocusing the attention to the living-dining-kitchen areas below on the ground floor, where furniture is placed like an outdoor area. Devoid of any other materials like wood or marble that are often seen in contemporary architectural projects, House in Takamatsu holds two major palettes of black and white; as if the design decision is to blur the line between outside and inside, where privacy is retained yet programmes are entirely flexible.