Tree-ness House

Akihisa Hirata

Architects: Akihisa Hirata
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Area: 331.38 m2
Year: 2017
Photography: Vincent Hecht

The building is a complex of rooms and galleries built in Toshima-ku, Tokyo.

In a tree, the different parts coexist organically: trunks, branches, and leaves. Here as well, those relationships – between boxes and pleated windows – are combined hierarchically to create the regions like a tree creates in the air. I tried to create ambiguous boundaries between interior and exterior.

Box, Pleat, Plant

The box is an RC structure of room size, which accounts for the mutual relationship between the rooms, stacking up while creating an appropriate overlap. The whole structure is generated around a three-dimensional void. Next, a pleated window is placed in the box. The pleats are made of a single continuous surface with the inner wall and fused with the box by casting concrete using a welded iron plate as a permanent form. The space inside and outside is broken up, and a comfortable place is generated on a human scale. Plants are placed around the pleats. By using lightweight soil with high water retentivity in the pleats, the plants can be maintained only by rainwater. Plants that are adapted to the microclimate of various places like the mountain vegetation are chosen.


The Otherness of Tangling

The boxes, pleats, and plants originally have different characters. However, it seems that combining them in a hierarchical way creates an organic whole. This hierarchical structure might be described as [[plant / pleats] / box]. Instead of a self-similar hierarchical structure, i.e., a fractal, it is a “wild hierarchical structure” that can be brought about by hierarchically learning from others who have different characters. Like waking up the wildness of humanity to create an architecture that is highly spatial and alive.

Tree-ness House was realized over eight years due to the consequences of the great earthquake and changes in conditions. However, the idea of making a hierarchical structure incorporating others and wildness into architecture – proposed for the first time in this project – was realized without losing its freshness, and it offers possibilities for future architecture.