The 2020 Architecture MasterPrize in the “Small Architecture” category was awarded to Takaaki Fuji + Yuko Fuji Architecture for their project “The Bay Window Tower House”. The prize is awarded by an international jury of designers, architects, curators, and academics with the aim of promoting the appreciation of architecture around the world.
The prize-winning building is located in the Tokyo district of Shibuya and comprises a small family home and office. Taking their inspiration from traditional Japanese verandas, the vision was to create rooms that offer all manner of pleasant places to sit. Takaaki Fuji + Yuko Fuji Architecture conceived the building as a tower with bay windows on each floor from which the residents can enjoy views of the city.
Based on an environmental analysis, the tower was designed to exhibit different environmental qualities depending on the time of year, time of day, floor, and orientation – to make the most of the varying conditions in terms of light, wind, and warmth. Carbonized cork – a material that exhibits a low weight, high heat insulation, and ease of workability – was used to reduce the thermal load.
The different floors are connected by a spiral staircase. Takaaki Fuji + Yuko Fuji selected materials such as wood, cork, and certain types of paint – materials with their own unique character that develop and flourish over time.
In harmony with the changes to the materials, the building was also designed to meet the similarly changing needs of its inhabitants. For instance, lamps are integrated into the pieces of furniture that can be moved wherever they are needed – so the room layout can be easily adapted as the children grow older. “The uniqueness of the building is the result of its environment and the people who live in it,” summarizes Takaaki Fuji.
Integrated into one of the bay windows – in fact right in front of the window – is a Duravit DuraSquare furniture washbasin, which is perfectly at home thanks to its timeless looks and longevity – even as the design of the room changes. In the bathroom, a Starck bathtub is set into the expanded window area, affording a breathtaking view of the downtown skyscrapers.
photo © Masao Nishikawa