The house of overlap

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Today on homify we will meet a very interesting house, one of which the various elements overlap and flow into one another like an elaborate puzzle on a grand scale. The M4 House is a feat of Japanese architecture, situated in a quiet residential area of Nagasaki.

Rhythm was an essential factor in the design of the building, which is evident in both the façade and the interiors of the home. Another recurring factor is the use of wood as construction material. The beauty of the wood and the rhythmic way in which it has been used throughout the structure clearly connects with the overall theme of overlap. Not only is this seen in the physical structure of the house, but also in the integrated spaces and rooms with multiple uses.

Layers

The two-storey M4 House, completed in 2013, was based on the concept of achieving high design while simultaneously improving the living environment of the home’s inhabitants. The house is a fine balance between aesthetics, privacy and functional performance, envisioned by Architect Show, based in Fukuoka City.

Here we can see the façade of the house from the street view. The main building materials used here are timber and concrete, coming together in an intricate marriage of layers and levels. The combination of the respective natural and synthetic materials in this linear format creates a distinct modern look.  The geometric style of the building is also very much in line with contemporary trends of house that seem like building blocks or puzzle pieces fit together.

Structural overlap

Seen from another street angle, and in the flattering light of dusk, we get a better idea of the house’s dimensions. The building has a lot more depth to it than what the width of the structure leads on at first sight. The conventional post and beam structure creates a bold matrix appearance, with the use of edgy dark colours to transport the house into the realm of the modern.

As we can see here, there are two levels to the house, but the garage is connected to the main structure and if overlaps with the ground floor. This is the essence of the M4 house: a structure where the underlying components flow into and out from one another to create a coherent whole.

A palace of wood

Inside the M4 House, we find a far greater use of wood than on the façade. Here, the rich texture and colour brought to the interior is beyond comparison, with excellent craftsmanship to boot. Red Cedar had been the timber of choice for this building, and as you can see, it works perfectly. The tonal variation in the individual planks of wood create a tapestry in monochrome, which goes to show that you can create variation out of simplicity.

Here we can also see rhythm taking a prominent role, as the timber layers in the walls, roof and floor create a repeated linear pattern, manifesting a steady horizontal rhythm throughout the room. In addition to this, the banisters of the stars and the window panes bring in a perpendicular, vertical rhythm to the scene, resulting in a dynamic atmosphere of consistent movement throughout the interior.

Task kitchen

Moving on to the kitchen of the house, we find a space explicitly task-oriented. Once again, the floor, ceiling, and counters are covered in Red Cedar, adding an intense warmth to space and ensuring a luxurious atmosphere. The perfect environment in which to prepare fine cuisine!

Aside from the elegance the kitchen is graced with due to the wooden features, it is a simple space with relatively small dimensions. The elongated working area can extend into a dining table – right by the kitchen appliances to serve dishes hot from the oven. The storage spaces are all integrated into the four large cabinets to streamline the space and to avoid clutter. A rail of sharp task lights is embedded in the ceiling above the kitchen sink and counter top area, to ensure that the work gets done without trouble.

Family living

Now to the living room. This space is situated at the heart of the house – it is at the centre and there is no floor above it. This creates sufficient ventilation throughout the home, as well as a dramatic and beautiful effect with the wooden banisters on the second floor.

The living room itself is also fairly simple, consisting only of an entertainment system, a single sofa, and a patterned rug on the floor between the first two. This allows for a visually uncomplicated space, perfect for a small family. The architect meticulously designed the house to create a friendly living environment for families, especially those with children. As you can see, with such a simple living room there is not much to be of danger to children, and not much they can damage! The vertical wooden banisters along the staircase and the upper floor also prevents two-storey accidents.

Functional diversity

Lastly, we simply take a step through the glass doors we saw in the previous image, located in the family living room. The architect specifically wanted an enclosed outdoor space for the property, as privacy was of utmost importance for the client involved.

The courtyard is tiled in white ceramic, which adds an element of sophistication to the affair. There is, however, still space left to form a garden bed where smaller trees and low shrubs can grow beautifully. This garden is also lighted for a more pronounced effect.

The courtyard has no other permanent fixtures, allowing for the inhabitants to transform it according to any given need, be it dinner party, family barbeques, or a birthday party for the kids. The home proves to overlap not only in physical structure, but also in possible function.

What do you think about the abundant use of Red Cedar wood in the M4 house?
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