Japanese architecture office DOG completes a new vision for collective housing with its Folding Screen Row House in Tokyo. The four-unit dwelling takes shape as a cluster of bright volumes around a light-filled courtyard. While traditional row houses are tightly lined with adjoining walls, the typology often leads to a lack of privacy and sound between dwellings. While each structure stands alone, the dwellings offer the isolation of a single-family home while maintaining the community of communal living.
The design team at DOG (see more here) realizes its Folding Screen Row House with a scattered plan. The angles and tilts of the layout suggest a random, arbitrary organization, while these decisions are meticulously informed by the site — the floor plan is organized to preserve the native trees which had long existed on the plot. This holistic volume on the whole is then traced by a zig-zagging wall, the ‘folding screen,’ which solidifies the meandering profile.
The folding boundary of the assemblage creates pocketed areas within the central courtyard, lending a spatial hierarchy of more private and social zones in a way that an orderly grid would miss.
With its Folding Screen Row House, the architects at DOG succeed in introducing a garden oasis to the urban context of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. While the fabric of the neighborhood is defined by its density and its narrow streets, the project’s introspective organization creates opportunities for outdoor space and more connection between the interiors and exteriors.
The central courtyard allows for each unit to open broadly outward with full-height walls of glazing and sliding doors. This organization creates the atmosphere of a quiet village, removed from the noise and congestion of the city.
each dwelling opens outward with full-height walls of glazing
the folding courtyard suggests a clustered village
the dwellings are removed from the density of Tokyo
the courtyard offers pockets of privacy
units are flooded with natural light
each home is unique, ensuring variety on the whole
project title: Folding Screen Row House
location: Setagaya City, Tokyo, Japan
structural engineering: Tetsuya Tanaka Structural Engineers builder: Double Box
photography: © Yasuhiro Nakayama
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