Shuhei Endo

Rooftecture M, Fukui Prefecture, 1999-2000

Rooftecture M is a small house built in Tokyo for two generations of a family living together. It is located in a residential neighborhood on a long, narrow plot encased by other houses. Endo succeeded in isolating the house from its surroundings by creating suspended living areas, cantilevered above the ground and by wrapping the house, like a package, in a membrane of protective metal plates. Using basic metal sheeting which he folded and bent, Endo left it completely open to the light on the northern side and only partially open on the southern side. Here, a few branches mark the limits of the garden. Compact and inward looking, the house seems to be defending itself from a threatening environment. Inside, however, the house dilates, opening onto suspended areas and communicating half-levels. Though very narrow, it is divided into specific parts both functionally and topologically arranged in a way that divides the program into a sequence of pods, which in turn determine the shape of the roof. The house is conceptually quite close to the elevated pavilion model of traditional Japanese religious architecture, with its raised floors, its sides that can be opened and its enveloping roof. Here, the roof literally becomes the “root” of the house. Starting at the level of the living room floor, its curls around and covers the entire building before plunging back into the ground on the opposite side.

Nadine Labedade

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