Architects: APOLLO Architects & Associates
Location: Ota, Japan
Area: 2,088 sq ft
Photographs by: Masao Nishikawa
APOLLO Architects & Associates were tasked by their client to overhaul a family home that was inherited. This is how the Trim project began. It is a lovely, authentic home located in Ota, Japan and the architects recognized its authenticity, therefore they decided to not tear it down, instead, they wanted to work with the existing framework of the house.
But renovating a building that is over 30 years older and giving it a modern look requires careful planning. They focused on reorganizing and rehabilitating the interiors whereas the exterior was barely touched. The only changes that the exterior went through were renovations related to the entrance, windows and doors.
After inheriting the house that his father had built, the client originally considered tearing it down and rebuilding. However, the thirty-some-year-old building had an authentic beauty to it, and its reinforced concrete structure was sound, so he decided to work with the existing framework. The renovation focused on interiors and appliances, while the exterior was left nearly untouched aside from the approach, windows, and doors.
In order to retain the atmosphere and design approach of the previous generation, the client requested design solutions that would meet the needs of a contemporary family’s lifestyle but involve as few changes as possible. In contrast to the distinctive wood interior of the existing structure, the renovation uses an abundance of hard, sharp materials such as marble, border tiles, and glass to create a simple, stylish space whose keynote color is white. In the center of the public space where the family gathers is a large kitchen with a countertop workspace and eating area counters.
The dining and living rooms are on either side of this kitchen. Ceiling height was maximized by turning an attic space into a void topped by a skylight. These three spaces are loosely partitioned by portal-like frames that utilize existing beams and columns; as one moves between them, views of the interior and exterior change markedlyone encounters different scenes of daily life. The frames also add a distinctive sense of depth to the space, which is further deepened by the light and shadow created by natural light.
Overall, this renovation did not aim to change the space as much as possible, but instead to sharpen the space by re-trimming unchanged scenes.