1 / 4
2 / 4
3 / 4
4 / 4

Inhabitable Roof Pavilion

Memory of My House in Okayama

I grew up in a house which was built more than 100 years ago. The original timber structure came from another old house in the neighboring area. Since the house was built, it has been extended and renovated through four generations of my family. After the main part of the house was built, the house was extended to the back, side, annex and finally a factory was added at the back. These extended parts have their own pitched roof and create a varied roof scape. The internal spaces under the roofs are all connected, forming a continuous space.

During my youth, six family members used to live in the house but currently the house is occupied only by my grandmother. It is certainly too big for one person however many of the rooms are occupied by lots of belongings of each family member as if their memories are remain.

The house is typical for the country side; most of the interior rooms are covered with Tatami matt. The rooms are separated by sliding doors with thin rice paper panels, enabling the spaces to be fully connected and adapted dependent on the use. Also, the house is open to outside with long south-facing Engawa terrace which occupies the most of the south facing façade. I remember I spent a lot of time sitting in Engawa. In this house, inside space is connected to outside space without strong boundary. The main interior spaces are connected with series of roofed areas such as parking, external corridor and storages, therefore even the boundaries to the outside space become blurred. As I was living in this house until at the age of 18, the experience of the blurred boundaries are strong part of my memory in this house.

My First Flat in London

On the contrary, the first place I lived in London was a typical terraced house in Pimlico. There was a busy market street in front of the house and the landlord’s shop was on the ground floor. I rented a small single room on the second floor which facing a courtyard at the back and I was sharing with two other flatmates whom I barely knew.

t that time, I was feeling apart from the city as everything was so different. The view of the city through my bedroom window looked like it belonged to another world at that time. The small room covered by solid brick walls was the only private space that I could feel home and the rest of the world was outside of the solid boundary. This was very contrary feeling to my house in Okayama. The different feeling of boundary was a physical discovery for me after starting a new life in London. Since then, the boundary of spaces became one of my architectural theme.

Taking the experience of thin boundary space, close connection of inside and outside, continuous space under series of roofs, I considered how to apply these experience into living environment in London. I have noticed that the dense city like London still contains forgotten blank spaces. One of the potential space is roof space. In details, there are cases of unused attic space in the existing building and unused roof top space on the flat roofs. Roofs take essential part of town scape and I have reconsidered a new possibility of roof as an attractive inhabitable space. I would like to introduce a new roof pavilion for forgotten flat roof spaces and to create new roof scape in London.

Inhabitable Roof Pavilion (Collaboration work with Jaesung Kim)

The roof pavilion is placed on the edge of the flat roof facing the Grand Canal and will create a new roof shape to the existing building. The pavilion maximizes life in a limited space. The light from a skylight enters through the louvered ceiling and gently illuminates the space. The attic above the ceiling can be another bedroom. A room can be simply separated by series of sliding panels like a traditional Japanese house. The flexibility maximizes the small space to create different life styles under one roof. By changing partitions, the size and function of the living space is adaptable. Inspired by existing retractable loading platforms, the pavilion’s terrace can retract into the facade. On the other side of the roof, retractable seating can be used for social gathering.

Materiality and Construction Method

This pavilion is predominantly lightweight timber elements so can be manufactured and assembled easily and quickly. The majority of the elements, such as cross laminated timber roof panels and bamboo decking panels are prefabricated and delivered to the site. These elements can be lifted up to the roof by a small hoist so construction cost and time are minimized. The decking is made from compressed bamboo strips which can be used both externally and internally. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and a very sustainable alternative to hard wood.

In central London, it is difficult to find a decent plot to build a new house. Because of the pressure from limited space in the city, unused roof tops can be an attractive inhabitable space. This roof pavilion can be fitted on unused flat roofs in the city to create new life styles as well as activate London’s roof scape.

Sponsored by

©Japanese Junction London. All rights are reserved.