Japan 2007Steel House
Using 3.2mm thick corrugated steel plates, a house of monocoque construction which resembles a freight car was made, with out having any beams or columns. The client, Professor Hirose, has been a devoted fan of railroads cars since childhood, and stores a few thousand models of trains in his home. He himself had wanted to live a kind of life in a freight-car environment. Fitting in to the L-shaped site, the house looks like a freight car stopping on a slope, curving in to an L-shape.
The body of the railroad car was originally designed based on the idea of structure+skin, yet the division of structure and skin has disappeared, and now is designed based on the Monocoque structure. In that context, this house intermediately exists between a railroad car and architecture.
The basic idea of the architectural structure is to bend the steel plates to gain strength. By bending them, the detail of the bent parts tells us how soft the material of steel is. If the steel plates were used without being bent and the surface were to be painted, we would not be able to recognize that the material used is steel. There would only be the presence of a white abstract plane, the same as plaster boards or concrete. With such abstract detail, communication does not exist between the substance of steel and people. On the other hand, the detail created by bending the steel establishes communication between the steel and us. Based on these ideas, we have been creating architectures from materials such as stone and wood. This idea is applied by using the material of steel for the body of this house.