Share Yaraicho

In the first Tokyo shared house, Satoko Shinohara and Ayano Uchimura have instilled a sense of rediscovered sensitivity towards nature and social responsibility, owed to the effect of energy-rationing post-Fukushima.

Share Yaraicho is situated near Kagurazaka, in the district of Shinjuku, in one of the most densely populated areas of Tokyo. With this project, Satoko Shinohara of Spatial Design Studio and Ayano Uchimura of A studio offer two original considerations regarding some of the changes taking place in Japanese society: they respond to both the demand for socialisation from Tokyo inhabitants and a need to develop awareness with regard to saving energy, necessary after the tragic events of 11 March 2011.

First shared house in Tokyo

Share Yaraicho responds to a growing demand for alternative patterns of living and is the first shared house in Tokyo that has been specifically designed as such. It may seem strange but in Japan, all the other existing shared houses are the result of buildings being adapted and converted for the purpose. Over recent years, due to economic and cultural issues but above all for reasons of social transformation, Japan has changed considerably, in fact in 2012 for the first time the percentage of people living alone in Tokyo has topped 50%. Most Japanese young (and old) people live alone and this represents a major difference with respect to their European and American counterparts for whom sharing a house with other students or workmates is a widespread practice. Share Yaraicho – thanks to spaces for socialising and living together – offers an alternative in response to an increasingly widespread request to oppose the trend of social solitude destined to increase over the coming years.

Unzip the facade

Shinohara and Uchimura’s project is situated on a quiet site, set back from Kagurazaka’s main thoroughfare and consists of a 10-metre-high building with a load-bearing structure in metal – a kind of box open on the front and rear elevation with seven units inserted into it. Some of the units are suspended from the structure in such a way as to leave gaps for storing low furniture and seating. The external facade – made from a semi-transparent waterproof plastic membrane that reflects the external landscape – contributes to the serene atmosphere given by the design. The membrane can be partially opened during the summer via the use of zips, encouraging natural ventilation and contact with the outside. There is in fact no door and solid wall but a zip that opens to take you into the house. Once past the semi-transparent facade, one finds oneself in an airy full-height transition space that serves as a buffer between inside and outside.

PROJECT TEAM: Taichi Kuma / Satoko Shinohara / Spatial Design Studio + Ayano Uchimura / A studio

STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: Ohno Japan

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