Hinge House is located in a good and quiet residential neighborhood with greenery in a suburb of Tokyo. The area, where issues of aging arise, looks very safe at first glance, but neighbors have been broken into by thieves even in the daytime. As there were few shops under the strict regulation, fewer people stay at home on weekdays, and most of them are elderly people. A few years ago, a cafe opened on the ground floor of a house near hear and provided a better atmosphere. It tells us how important it is to have space where someone always stays in this aging area. We, therefore, created large liberated space in Hinge House. Our clients enjoy playing and listening to music there and will get together with friends, relatives, and neighbors, serving them handmade bread. They also have the option to rent bedrooms as short-term lodging like Airbnb.
In order to construct a large space easily, we designed hinges in collaboration with a structural engineer. We connected roof beams with hinges just like furniture at a pre-cut factory in advance and craned them on site. It took only 2 hours for the framework of the roof. The ridge beam is also fastened to the hinges so that it can be subjected to lateral force, thrust from climbing beams without tie bars.
The clients are a couple in their late 60s. We placed all essential functions on the ground floor so that they can enjoy life even on wheelchairs in 20 years, adding slope at the entrance. In Japan, a site area of a house tends to be so small that bedrooms are not always in good condition and are normally separate from the other rooms. It is a problem for bedridden people to stay at bad space all day. Some of them feel insecure to let someone, even a care person, come into their house because they can't tell what he or she is doing in other rooms. In Hinge House, even if one of our clients might be bedridden, he or she can easily see the whole house and can remain the lead character of his or her life with the help of care persons.
Walls are finished with plaster painting and paulownia wood. It is good for humidity conditioning. Chests of kimono have been made of paulownia wood traditionally. It fits their collection of Japanese dolls and old books such as Anthology of Myriad Leaves.
Lattice works are closed at night like a shop or a cafe. We applied the traditional craftsmanship of Japanese traditional sliding door, Shoji. A manufacturer with the skill of producing yacht components made the hinges. We designed contemporary refinement with traditional craftsmanship and manufacturing.
Mio Tachibana Architects is located in Tokyo, Japan and was founded by Mio Tachibana. She was born in 1981 in Tokyo. She earned her master’s degree from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2006 and worked for Riken Yamamoto & FIELDSHOP. She established Mio Tachibana Architects in 2008 and won several domestic awards, such as Good Design Award, Nobuaki Furuya Award etc. Since 2014, she also has been an assistant professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology.