white out‘s an ongoing series of posts drawn from a presentation that our winter intern nicolas allinder gave about his research into recent modern residential  japanese architecture.
i couldn’t help but write about house in katase given yesterday’s post of buckminster fuller’s portrait and also thinking of tem, a great apartment in tokyo which really struck a cord with us at rolu.  bucky, known mostly for his grid bending technocratic domes, constantly pushed the borders of design. compared to bucky, naya architects are much more conventional in their design. however, their work maintains a playfulness and provocative exploration of environmental conditions, leaving them far from conventional.
obviously, house in katase is a play on night and day experiences of space. but unlike tem apartment and the work of bucky, house in katase feels almost like a gimmicky attention grabber. tem apartments were designed with the notion of maintaining privacy while still allowing light into an apartment dwarfed by its surrounding buildings. house in katase, located in fujisawa, kanagawa, is further away from the high rising buildings of tokyo and the issues of privacy and lighting are much less important. that aside, i enjoy the playfulness and boldness of creating a lantern house in a city.
all of these thoughts remind me of a book i was read as a child, the big orange splot. in the story, a seagull flies over a mans’ house and drops a bucket of orange paint on the house. the man, who lived in a monochrome suburban like area, decides to paint the house of his dreams rather than repaint the house to fit in with everyone else’s house. it feels like a genuine decision, some how not gimmicky. eventually each neighbor comes over to complain about the mans’ rebellious house, only to return home and paint the house of their dreams. in the end, this technicolor dream street exclaims “our street is us and we are it. our street is where we like to be, and it looks like all our dreams.” i wonder what kind of response house in katase created in its neighborhood or even what a neighborhood of lantern houses might look like… at least the owners look happy.
whether or not its gimmicky, i recommend looking into naya architect’s house in katase (in spite of the quality of the photographs), the life and mind of buckminster fuller, and really recommend reading the big orange splot to your kids.
posted by nicolas allinder