year: 2010-2012
use: house
location: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
floor: 1basement floor + 3floor
structure: S
site area: 51.47m2
building area:41.20m2
total floor area: 120.70m2
structural design: Kenji Nawa
construction: ISA, T. Nakamura
photo: Hiroyuki Hirai
staff in charge: T.Ueda
October Ueda and Nakagawa Architects

Life in Tokyo - Retrospective future of back-to-urban-core houses

What was so-called "ji-ah-ge" in Japan (joining small lands together) is that by improving the condition of connecting road, the floor-area-ratio increased and the property value increased. In the case that there was a land with a wide front road and small lands behind with a narrow side road, the height and volume of the small lands were very limited because of the narrow side road; if you joined the small lands and the first mentioned front land together, you can get more possible volume than that of simple sum of all separated lands' max volumes.

The site of LIT is the reverse. A medium scale building had existed in a site; the site was divided into three. The site of LIT is one of the three. One of the three confronts a wide road; the other two confront a narrow side road. The site of LIT is one of the other two so that possible height and volume is very limited. It is a site that the land for a medium scale building had not sold as it had been and was divided so that the price became affordable for a house.

This is different phenomenon from what you can see in Setagaya, Tokyo. In the case of Setagaya, large house sites are divided for inheritance taxes. The case of LIT is of a symbolic phenomenon in the shrinkage age of city and population.

Although knowing only a very small house could be built in the site, my clients requested a small office and a rentable floor in their house. It was nothing but impossibility for architects; I designed their house. To think about what they said again, it was a quite symbolic programme for Back-To- Urban-Core houses in the shrinkage age of city and population. The design was a fight to the law of counting floors; I compress the height of floors and made contrast of it.

It may be called as "New Life in Tokyo." However, the programme may be a vertical version of Japanese old row house; if so, it is merely going back to the past or a retrospective future.