금속으로 이뤄진 커튼이 3미터 반 높이의 넓은 창문에 드리워져 있다. 현대건축으로 유명한 혼슈의 상업 중심지에 철거 건물을 대체할 협소 주택을 지었으면 하는 의뢰를 받은 건축가들은 주택 소유자의 사생활을 침해하지 않으면서도 충분한 자연채광을 제공할 수 있는 디자인을 구상했다.
3층으로 구성된 가로로 긴 협소 주택은, 가볍게 수납 가능한 스테인레스 스틸 체인 커튼을 전체 높이로 달았다. 이를 통해 사생활을 유지하면서 바람에 펄럭일 때 놀랄만큼 부드러운 느낌을 주기도 한다.
The tightly packed site and its urban setting called for a design that could provide plenty of natural light, without compromising the homeowner's privacy.
FujiwaraMuro Architects' response was to create a slender three-storey house, with full-height windows set back from a stainless-steel chain curtain that lets in light while maintaining privacy.
"While people tend to associate stainless-steel curtains with the hardness of metal, when used on a building-sized scale, they flutter in the wind and convey a surprisingly soft impression," said the architects.
"It can be closed to gently deflect prying eyes, or opened to provide a feeling of expansiveness, and at night turns into a glittering veil illuminated by the interior lighting," they added.
While the metal curtain provides plenty of natural light for the interiors of House in Minami-tanabe, the lack of a view meant the architects had to add interest to the interiors in other ways.
"The nature of the site is ill-suited to gazing at exterior views, so we approached the interior as a landscape of its own," the architects explained.
The team distributed the living spaces across three split-level floors and a basement, creating a visually engaging interior – including a generous entrance, an open-plan living and dining area, along with two bedrooms, bathrooms and a roof terrace.
Multiple open staircases at either end of the skinny house connect these split-level floors, resulting in a series of circulation routes that encourage residents to wander through the house rather than "moving monotonously within it".
"Residents are able to stand or sit at various spots inside the house and enjoy this interior landscape," added the architects.
The main staircase circles a skylit void, creating a bright, open space that compensates for the lack of windows to look out of.
A contrasting spiral staircase leads to the basement, where a bedroom is secluded away from the openness of the rest of the home.