In Japan, despite the extremely high population density, most people still live in detached single-dwelling houses, partly due to the ever-present risk of earthquakes. This offers an unparalleled opportunity for creative architects to satisfy the exacting requirements of their clients by building some pretty unusual buildings.
The brief for the Toda house in Hiroshima was for a family home with views over the neighbours' roof, which offers privacy and security, and which provides space for an extension to be built in the future for a small shop. In response, the architects designed a house elevated on stilts in the form of a ribbon wrapped around a central courtyard. The living spaces are arranged on different levels of the spiralling ramp, much like the Guggenheim museum in New York. Residents benefit from plenty of light with continuous windows on both sides of the living spaces as well as a delightful open space on the ground level, which works well as a garden until the shop extension is built. Ingenious!
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