Pillar House

house / exhibition

photo by Iwan Baan

「Arts&Life: 生きるための家」展 展示作品

Site: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Builder: Tansei Display Co., Ltd.

柱の家 (「Arts&Life:生きるための家」展 コンペティション 最優秀賞)




“Arts & Life: A Housing for Living” competitionFirst Prize

Pillar House is a concept that was designed with the intent of proposing a new type of housing that emphasizes the living quality of its inhabitants. It was first introduced as a miniature model submission for the “Arts & Life: A Housing for Living” competition that was held in September 2011 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. At the recommendation of jurors Kazuhiro Kojima(C+A),Ryue Nishizawa(SANAA), Akihisa Hirata and Sou Fujuimoto, my work was fortunate enough to be selected as the winning submission and I was given the honor of turning my miniature into a life-sized model.

My inspiration for Pillar House arose from the authentic Japanese houses. After the big earthquake in Tohoku in 2011, I went there and saw the old houses with a big pillar in the center of the house. It was an elastic pillar rising up from the floor of the house to its ceiling, and it was a sight that truly left an impression on me. It symbolized a traditional and familiar centerpiece in old Japanese homes, one which I could see continuing in its role to provide support for the Japanese house of tomorrow. However, instead of one central pillar, I imagined several in one house, creating a space of openness, yet providing shelter to the family living intimately among them.

The life-sized replica of Pillar House was built within the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum from July to September 2012. All of the pillars and floors are spatially and structurally connected with the purpose of recreating an atmosphere akin to a medieval village where one can find rows of small houses, winding pathways, open spaces, roofs and steps that appear organically-woven together. To this concept, I also added doors, window frames and furniture to create comfortable living spaces. For instance, against the pillars, where the ceilings are low, one may find a cozy, attic-like space to enjoy a book. On the other hand, where the ceilings are the highest, the family can gather together and spend a nice evening looking up at the starry sky. This design was an effort that required constant changing and careful adjustments to ensure a natural and harmonious blend among all of the elements within the model. The ultimate result is a house with distinct rooms and tucked away corners but without the encumbering and impersonal barriers of walls. In this way, I hope to give the house of tomorrow a sense of unpredictability for a family to enjoy, as well as a clear sense of transparency to bring them closer together.


Suzuko Yamada Architects, Inc. Tokyo, JAPAN