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House of Cycles

House of Cycles 尾張旭の住宅


The building functions as private residence of a researcher couple with two children, who is majoring in environmental science. It is located at the outskirt of Nagoya (Japan) in a peaceful residential area with reach natural environment. The design is based on the concept of ‘cycles’. First, it concerns the seasonal cycles of natural environment, to which the house is designed to adjust through its spatial and structural organization as well as equipments. Second, it regards to the loop-like cyclic movement-system inside the house, which is the key element for the functional layout.

Environmental cycles

The shape and orientation of the house is determined by the OM solar system. It requires steep roof with big continuous surface toward the south as well as very compact spatial organization with limited outer surfaces to minimize heat-loss. Due to these constraints, the building has a very simple horizontal prism-like volume, which is interrupted only by a small inside garden. The OM solar benefits direct sunshine for the passive heating and cooling of the house, and for the hot-water supply in summer. The system is based on the natural movement of hot air controlled only by the body of the building as well as some built-in fans. Air enters under the eaves and lifts up gradually in an air-layer inside the roof. Glass panels are fixed on the upper part of roof, in order to help heating the air up to even higher temperature near the ridge. At the ridge, there is a horizontal duct to collect hot air and to pass it to the handling-box through some fans. Handling-box is the ‘engine’ of the system. Depending on season, it works in different ways. In winter, handling-box sends hot air through a vertical duct underneath the floor, and from the continuous air-layer under the floor hot air enters the rooms through the floor-gratings. In summer, hot air is used for making hot water, while handling-box throws away the surplus heat. Independently from the OM solar, photovoltaic power generation system employs solar panels on the roof. In shiny summer days, it can cover the whole electricity demand of the house. Moreover, there is a functioning well under the staircase of the porch, which is used as water-supply for flashing toilets and for small tabs in the garden for watering plants and washing car. In summer it provides very cold water for watering the base-concrete, which has cooling effect for the inside climate. In these means, utilizing the seasonal cycles of natural environment, the house attempts to contribute to resource and energy conservation, an unavoidable requirement towards architecture of the 21th century.

Cyclic Movement-System

Beyond the outer constraints, OM solar requires large continuous spaces for the unobstructed move of hot air inside the house. For that, the loop-like cyclic movement-system provides physical connections between inner spaces, while a series of vista stand for visual connections. Thus the combination of physical and visual connections establishes the smooth layering of spaces with different privacy levels, which is highly desirable condition for our everyday life.

Semi-public space (porch) connects the house to the outside. Spaces with the lowest level of privacy (private-type public spaces: LDK, gallery) are completely ‘open spaces’. It can be seen both from their physical connections to other places (they stand at the center of whole circulation system) and from their ‘transparency’ through full-vistas on the 1F and between the 1F and 2F through the open ceiling. Private-type semi-public spaces connect between private-type public spaces and semi-private spaces both physically (in-between space, water-block) and visually (in-between space, inside garden, water-block). The former is also necessary for keeping the same temperature inside the house, which is basic requirement of OM solar.

Semi-private spaces (tatami-room, playroom) connect among private-type (semi-)public spaces through the open ceiling, which is another mean for the unobstructed move of hot air, and they provide half-vistas from 2F via 1F to outside. Finally, private spaces (study, bedroom) are spaces with the highest level of privacy based on their position as dead-end of a linear movement from private-type public spaces. They are completely separated from other spaces not only physically - which separation results in a cut-off from the OM solar system respectively - but also through the lack of any visual connection.