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    Atelier Bow-Wow - Houses

    by Terunobu Fujimori and Atelier Bow-Wow

    In this glimpse at the Tokyo architecture firm Atelier Bow-Wow, Terunobu Fujimori describes the studio's special approach to space, and the architects themselves outline three of their amazing houses. —Editor

    Step inside House & Atelier Bow-Wow and you will be amazed by its lack of conventional, room-like spaces — it is like wandering into an optical illusion devised by M.C. Escher. Level changes, bookshelves, and landings will fill your eyes. There are floors, but these link up in complicated ways and are connected by stairs of varying sizes. While this intricacy is at first unsettling, after spending some time inside, the space takes on a warm, relaxed and warm feel. The interior is indeed unusual, but there is a palpable sense of totality within the intricacy — a totality that is comfortable to occupy.

    What principles generate this type of interior space? As it turns out, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima have always preferred stairs, landings, closets, storerooms, attics, and other incidental spaces to living rooms, dining rooms, and other conventional "room-like" rooms.

    When designing a conventional house, an architect will generally situate the "primary spaces" that fulfill the building's main functions at the center of the house. The architect will then arrange hallways, stairs, and level changes around the periphery to establish relationships between the primary spaces.   >>>

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    This article is excerpted from Atelier Bow-Wow: Behaviorology by Atelier Bow-Wow, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, Rizzoli. The essay by Terunobu Fujimori was translated by Nathan Elchert.



    ArchWeek Image

    Atelier Bow-Wow designed the Nora House in Sendai, Japan. The home's irregular wood roof features two tall "light chimneys."
    Photo: © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi A to Z Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The protruding chimneys of the single-story Nora House help the home fit in among two-story neighbors.
    Photo: © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi A to Z Extra Large Image


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