Maruhiro Office “Ouchi” / DDAA
Photographs: Kenta hasegawa
Manufacturers: Workshop arch
Text description provided by the architects. The office of the pottery brand Hasami Maruhiro is a project to renovate an 86-year-old Japanese house located just behind “Hiroppa”, a complex project comprising a park and a store under direct management currently in the pipeline at the DDAA.
Hasami pottery is a local industry in Hasami, Nagasaki Prefecture. By adding a directly managed store function to the park, Hiroppa is conceived as a place not only for customers but also for the local population. In an old house adjoining the park, an exhibition hall, a kitchen for making lunch boxes to eat in the park, and a residence space for collaboration with artists were created in addition to office functions.
At the start of this project, the COVID-19 calamity was spreading around the world, but the client decided to continue with the project because the park project, which is intended for outdoor use, would be beneficial even in post- conditions. COVID. However, as the future is unpredictable, it is very important to be flexible in terms of the management of the organization. Therefore, DDAA came up with what they could do with half the original budget. The aim was to boldly change the impression of the existing with as few modifications as possible and also to create a space that is not fixed in function or concept.
Japanese wooden houses are designed to allow flexible and repeated expansion and renovation in the first place. It can be said that one of the characteristics of Japanese accommodation is that it does not peak on completion, but can gradually change in appearance depending on the situation. This Japanese house was no exception and the kitchen, warehouse, entrance, etc. had been enlarged.
The DDAA proposed to modify the existing conditions as little as possible and to remove the floor from the room where the tatami mats were laid. The soil was removed and the concrete was poured, leaving the magnificent stone plinth foundation that appeared. In addition to the concrete floor, the desk legs at the original floor height were also concrete.
Using a chair often damages the tatami mat, but removing the tatami solved the problem and at the same time the height of the ceiling was increased as the floor was lowered. All paper and glass have been removed from the yukimi-shoji screens (lattice frame with translucent paper on top and glass on the bottom so you can look out over the garden while sitting on tatami mats). Since the ground was lowered, the garden is at eye level when sitting in a chair. The tokonoma (Japanese alcove, which is often decorated with hanging scrolls and other works of art), which has come to a relatively high position, is also suitable for the look of modern life, where we often sit on chairs. A rolling round mirror door that also serves as a sign for the entrance was installed over the existing shoji frame.
On the second floor, the tatami mats have been replaced by wooden planks to create a residence space for the artists. The wall under the nageshi (decorative material that connects the columns horizontally) is covered with the same lauan plywood as the floor, and no additional work has been done above. By changing its relation slightly, the original meaning can be changed. We believe this is an efficient way to use existing stock, such as vacant homes. When completed, plans to use it not only as an office, but also as a tea room adjacent to the park, a pop-up store, and rental space immediately surfaced.