The recently built House NA, designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects, is both straightforward, perplexing. The project is straightforward in its transparency and restrained material palette, but perplexing in its shifting levels of spatial arrangement: like living inside a glass and wood puzzle. I tend to think that people can pretty much live in anything, and as stunning as this project is, it’s also challenging. House N, designed by Fujimoto and finished just three years ago seems much more livable because the project develops a gradient of privacy for the occupants. Faced with a more restricted site and more transparent enclosure, the gradient doesn’t develop the same sophistication.
That said, this house is still a compelling and smart project where the boundaries between inside and out begin to erode while the hierarchy of floors (first floor, second floor, etc) has almost completely dissolved. The photos of the architecture model paired with this video of the completed house, help clarify the house’s organization; plus, the model’s scaled hangers and wooden clothing are an example of an architectural rarity: cuteness. Including details like hangers, pencils and potted plants in the model does more than just look cute though, it helps to neutralize and humanize the project’s unusual form “those could be my hangers!” and shifts how we experience the scale model toward a tangible experience instead of just an intellectual one.