Azuma House by Tadao Ando

This is a small project yet it is simple and hit the concept. Designed by the self-taught Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Azuma House in Sumiyoshi, Osaka, Japan; replaces one of the traditional houses in this area built in wood.

The big contrast of the project itself between the traditional houses but in a dense urban core of Osaka row-houses. This narrow concreate rectangular row house seems brutal.

What I like about this project is how Tadao Ando created the courtyard space to let the light from the open sky making a small courtyard where it linked the two parts of the row house by a bridge.

Thinking about the normal rowhouse, if it's not having the part open to the sky,it will be so dense and dark and has poor ventilation.The only source of good light and ventilation is to open the top part of the house.Following the roof traditions, most row house doesn't have exact openning to the sky at the top.Yet this is a good example of how the simple thing can be done with good purpose on its concept of light.

This concrete box row house is two storeyed with the living room and kitchen located on the ground floor separated by the central courtyard and having the staircase leads to the upper floor that the two bedrooms are linked by a walkway or a bridge. Here the concrete box has no window and the central courtyard is the only source of natural light and ventilation.The reinforced concrete is the only ornamentation for the facade.The presence of a door infront suggests the use of this box.

Project Profile

Architect: Tadao Ando
Location : Osaka, Japan
Period : 1976
Projec Type: Row house, Small house
Climate: Semitropical
Context: Dense urban
Architectural Style: Modern

Project Site Detail

Site area:57 sq meters
Building area: 34 sq meters
Total floor area: 65 sqmeters

Site Plan

Main Sources:
Credits to original photographer,drawings and 3dsection-model

Hooper House

Well, this is a classic courtyard house back to postwar period;Hooper House or Hooper House II, designed by Marcel Breuer and Herbert Beckhard.It is located in Bare Hills in Baltimore County,Maryland.

View to the lake through the courtyard from the entrance

The most significant feature of this home is its central courtyard which divides the functions of the rooms of the house. I cannot find the architectural drawings so far that we will just study from its description and the pitures we have here.

The Living room,dining,cooking and entertaining are at the south wing of the house and family/bedrooms are at north wing and thus have the central courtyard devides the wing.

Every room except for two bathrooms, the 'family room', and the kitchen are located along the home's periphery and thus have the entire wall of made of glass, half of which is a floor to ceiling sliding-glass door.The living has two such doors because of there is so much glass.

View to the East

The house has the view to Lake Roland to the east.The front door(facing west) faces the center of the courtyard and glass doors and large rectangular gap in the stone of the rear wall has an unbostructed view literally through the home and the lake(to the east).

There is a stone wall which blocks the noise on the side of the family wing facing courtyard combined with a relatively narrow doorway connecting to the front entry hall.The west wall is a long wall of Maryland fieldstone and only broken only by the front door.

An interesting note is that, when this home was built, insulated glass was not as common as it is today - especially for windows as large as 8-1/2 by 10 feet - and so all the glazing in the house is 1/4" plate glass, with an R value of 1. Replacing it all with insulated glass to save energy would have a payback period several times the warranty for the new glazing - which has a perimeter seal between its two or more panes, subject to eventual failure. The original glass, which has no such failure mode, remains clear after 50 years.

Dining room, Dining chairs designed by Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer was an Hungarian-born modernist architect and furniture designer who was born in early 20th century.I also find his concept of binuclear house is very interesting.
The Geller House I of 1945 is the first to employ Breuer's concept of the 'binuclear' house, with separate wings for the bedrooms and for the living / dining / kitchen area, separated by an entry hall, and with the distinctive 'butterfly' roof (two opposing roof surfaces sloping towards the middle, centrally drained) that became part of the popular modernist style vocabulary. A demonstration house set up in the MOMA garden in 1949 caused a new flurry of interest in the architect's work, and an appreciation written by Peter Blake

Main Sources:,_Maryland)
Photos by:Zubin Shroff

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