Hiroshi Nakao, Dark Box Bird Cage

This weekend house consists of a large living room capable of accommodating two automobiles; small bedrooms in which the bed completely fills the floor; a study that doubles as a studio; two enclosed gardens; bathroom; and external garage. The layout plan involved disposing the component elements on a basic 3×3 meter grid. Since all surfaces are painted black, the interior is a somewhat dark box. However, daylight entering from the large and small enclosed gardens creates a varying mixture of light and dark areas.

Gained by a ladder, a small loft is provided above the living room, which is used for book storage and a reading place. A base of pebbles is placed at the bottom of the ladder, whose sounds when people are going up and down it make this little collection of pebbles something of an interior sound effect system. None of the walls are pierced by sizable openings, with lines of sight running to the exterior only in the vertical direction. Which is not to say, however, that this is a sealed space. It would be much more accurate to describe it as an open space. A ‘dark box’ it may appear, but with its innumerable holes, it is much more of a ‘bird cage’.

Weekend House: Dark Box and Bird Cage (1993), Hiroshi Nakao, Masahiko Inoue, and Hiroko Serizawa. Text and images from Japan Architect 9, Spring 1993, pp. 228-29.

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