Housing Complex Niigata by Takuya Hosokai: Reinventing the art of inhabitation

Architect Takuya Hosokai has designed a housing complex in the Japanese city of Niigata that is minimal, efficient and features a strong connection with its surrounding urban setting. As simple and bold as it may appear, this building has a deep theatrical concept but it also accomplishes to serve the original purpose of inhabitation; to provide its residents with flexible and comfortable living spaces. The architect’s concept is inspired by Noh, a traditional, Japanese performance art which is heavily reliant upon the use of delicately carved masks.  Like in Noh, this building exudes the performances and the complexity of everyday living that takes place inside.

Housing Complex Niigata -  Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

Housing Complex Niigata -Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

However, it is not only the dialogue between the building and its inhabitants that is expressed here; Takuya Hosokai has emphasized on the relation between the built form and the existing surroundings as well as natural elements.  There is a fragile interchange of materials taking place on the building façade which highlights issues such as porosity, depth and reflection.  The switch between materials such as concrete and glass, which have entirely different functional and aesthetic properties, suggest different inhabitation principles. Openness versus warmth, the privacy of one’s home versus the buzz of the city  are all present here. But this building’s facade and form have not been determined based on aesthetics and vague conceptual ideas. The visual outcome is associated with the efficiency and practicality of evacuation routes, service piping and to the allowance to re-use the formwork.

Housing Complex Niigata -Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

Housing Complex Niigata -Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

Housing Complex Niigata - Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

Similarly the piloti also serves a dual purpose; both a strong structural element and a matter of necessity.  The piloti space here is of high importance, since the city of Niigata has no metro transportation system; therefore private vehicles are a dominant mode of transport and parking space is more than necessary. But the effect of the piloti is also a matter of perception as it opens the building’s ground floor to the street and consequently to the city.

Housing Complex Niigata - Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

Housing Complex Niigata -Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

The uniqueness of this project lies in the strong combination between the emotional notion found in the art of Noh and the realistic requirements concerning inhabitation. As the architect Takuya Hosokai states ‘This human aspect is permitted to further express the age, personality and sensibility of the actors.  In this fashion, the architectural facade exudes the lives of its inhabitants; it is animated by the chaotic living within its ordered structure. The personalities incorporated in the architecture will gradually be rewritten and inherited. This architecture will grow with its occupants; the façade, continuously manipulated by natural phenomenon, is a Noh mask which is activated by the changing seasons.’ 

Housing Complex Niigata - Takuya Hosokai

© Naomichi Sode

Housing Complex Niigata - Takuya Hosokai

Housing Complex Niigata - Takuya Hosokai

Words: Ivi Vassilopoulou

 


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