Sky House by Kiyonori Kikutake

photo found on tumblr

Photo found on tumblr – what I was hoping to see.

The house that use to fly. Use to. I was hoping to see the building looking like the above, but instead the only view I could see was what I have taken below. The sky house was another project recommended to me as a must visit by my friend Andy and we talked briefly about it today which reminded me to post about it. There are not many photos to show as the house is not very accessible but it is the idea behind the house that is enduring. It is the physical manifestation of the Metabolist Movement. Also the place where the members came together to discuss ideas. The idea of plug in components under the house as expansion was needed through time is similar to the Nakagin Capsule by Kisho Kurokawa but in a much smaller scale. This is Kikutake’s own house, where he was able to experiment and test concepts based on his own manifesto for what architecture could be. The result is a powerful image that embodies the spirit of Japan at the time; rising above economic decline into a brighter future.

View from Street

My own photo: what I could see from the street.

It is also the house that Kazuo Sejima of SANAA has described as the image that she remembers as a child around ten years of age. It was not until later when she studied architecture in university that she  knew what building it was and realised it was the same house that left such a strong impression on her so many years earlier. Very few buildings have such an effect on people – what makes your design different to just another house? This is what my studio teachers always ask us to think about. Not being different just for the sake of being different, but being able to offer something others have not been able to think of, to challenge, to gather all your thoughts and express it in a physical form, to get passer bys (not just other architects) to stop and look, to think and to critique. This is architecture.

The approach - a quiet and narrow residential street

The approach – a quiet and narrow residential street

Name plate reassures me that I did indeed find the right house

Name plate reassured me that I did indeed find the right house

All fenced up now

All fenced up now

From what I could see – mainly two sides of the house including the entry, it appears to be a modest and ordinary house. The wooden shutters complimented well with the concrete, both appearing to age well. The idea of the enclosed verandah which runs along the perimeter with operable shutters is simple yet effective – a modern interpretation of the engawa. Only Kikutake can make an elevated concrete box look so good.

Great article here and great photos by Iwan Baan showing what the interior looks like here.

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