Atsumasa Tamura Design office

Renewed by Atsumasa Tamura in Wakayama, Japan, the single family house’s old and new parts are connected in a harmonious way, with the same inside proportions.

The renovation began not just to restore but rather to create a space where the old section merges into the new in a harmonious way. The “Koumori-An” house offers the concept of “value in keeping”. The seventy-years old building was not at all an iconic structure but just an ordinary house with a kirizuma roof. Yet the style of the house should not be changed drastically as it was a part of the landscape and its memory. It is valuable not because it is aged, but because it has been there shaping the local scenery as a part of the town.

If the new section had been renovated to suit the modern living style, the inside dimensions would have become too different from the old section which was built in the traditional Japanese metrics. Naturally the life style on tatami differs from the contemporary style with chairs. If two set of metrics had been introduced in adjoining space, the old section would have been recognized as simply out-of-date and there would have been no harmony. Therefore the traditional Japanese metrics, “5 Shaku 7 Sun”, was applied to the new section. With the same inside measurement, old and new are connected in a harmonious way, and by keeping the proportion, the design of the new section was free from the restriction of the traditional Japanese style.

An open and spacious terrace was arranged in the middle of the house complex, as the intersection of old and new sections, inside and outside spaces. The terrace is accessible from the new section, the corridor and the old section, implying that both new and old parts are in unison. Also the terrace roof is extended to the living room, as if to show the terrace, corridor and dining area are one connected room. The old space is not there to make a contrast to the new, but to produce the harmony using the same metrics. By doing so, the design is able to expand further. Newly renovated space has become a place where the history of 70 years can be felt and enjoyed, establishing the concept of “value in keeping”.


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