“House Surgery”(“ZENKAI” HOUSE)

1996 -

This project is a restoration of my own house. Built in 1900, it was judged “completely collapsed” after the Hanshin Great Earthquake. A system of demolition at public expense was the norm; there was no option of renovation at public expense. The result was to shut out the most economical and effective approach, restoration, to secure housing in the areas affected by the disaster. This also initiated the construction of lots of temporary houses and the area is now bristling with mass-produced homes. As an architect, I resisted such a scheme, through the practical work of the restoration. Architecture has an aspect of the vessel of memory, even if it has no cultural value. In order to improve earthquake resistance throughout a whole row of houses (including my own), I planned to fully reinforce the structure with new steel beams and columns, leaving the existing wooden parts as they were. I located the new steel frame in places where it does not interfere in our lives, and securely connected it to the older wood frame. I suppose that the loads will be gradually transferred to the steel framework. The wooden framework has effectively been “retired” from its structural purpose. However, it retains the memory of residents’ earlier lives and of the disastrous earthquake.

location Takarazuka City, Hyogo
principal use architectural studio
total floor area 89m2
structure wood structure reinforced with steel frame
2 stories