Ether House / House of hobbies
Location: Chiba, Japan
Completion: Feasibility study
The most striking feature of this residence is weightlessness. Our aim was to design a residence that defies logic, a residence that contains life, whilst bypassing the need for a container. The result is an etherial, ghostly space, hence the name - Ether House. The elements that usually define a ‘structure’ are minimised. Vertical and horizontal lines are reduced to such a degree that from a distance, they are almost invisible - the structure vanishes, and all that can be seen is activity that mysteriously floats in the air, life and energy that vibrantly moves about the space, unrestrained by walls and partitions.
The heaviest element is the residential core in the center, the private zones of the house, and on each side is vertical access and flexible living spaces. The idea is that at any moment, freedom is readily accessible, only a step away. Mere metres from the interior spaces, you can escape to somewhere with openness, space and light in every visible direction. Each level is devoted to a separate purpose. On the first floor are the utilities, parking and access. On 2F is the living area and the kitchen. The kitchen is located within the residential core, whilst the living space located in the flexible zone, giving residents the opportunity to spend their more relaxing hours in an open space, bathed in natural sunlight and fresh air, watching the rest of the world from above. On the third floor is a bedroom, with its own flexible space. A whole wall in this room has been replaced with a window that looks down through the whole residence, creating the impression that every living area occupies the same space. The flexible space on this floor is high above the ground and consists of a simple grating, allowing residents can look out to unhindered views of sunrises and sunsets.
Due to its simple, minimalist design, using standardised dimensions, the Ether House can be constructed quickly and cheaply. In the summertime, screens on either side of the building can be opened, allowing fresh air to travel through the whole space. The home essentially transforms from being an inside space to a fully outside space with a simple adjustment.
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