Toyo Ito

Aluminum House, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, 1970-1971

Built in the residential neighborhood of Fujisawa in Kanagawa (Japan), this wooden house entirely clad in aluminum was Toyo Ito’s first completed project. Totally closed, it expresses the approach followed by the architect in the 1970s: cutting off the building from its exterior environment to protect it from the surrounding urban disorder. Here, Ito placed the accent on the screen-façade, on the surface of the construction. “I designed the façades to act as artificial masks turned towards the street.” This house reveals the architect’s predilection for metallic materials, systematically utilized in his projects from the 1980’s onward. The Aluminum House is staggered on two levels and is virtually blind. The ground floor offers a fluid space without walls made up of a tatamis room and a single space combining the entrance, living area and kitchen. Upstairs, a light well floods the volume with sunlight and two bedrooms are laid out around two central columns. Some architectural elements still have signs of the traditional Japanese house, such as the portico and the steep staircase in the form of a ladder providing access to the upper floors.

Nadine Labedade

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