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Gradient Living

Social Housing in Osaka

In such a cyber age, The need for in-between space was replaced by virtual space. People's life circle degenerated into a binary relation between home and urban. Neighborhood and community are almost gone.

Kita Senri Newtown is the typical social housing community planned and built in the 1960s as a satellite town of Osaka. In recent years, the community population is polarized: elder people who have lived here from the beginning and young generation who cannot afford the rent of downtown. The family is no longer the basic unit of housing. To bring back the vitality and establish a new connection between nowadays residents, we transferred the idea of spacial ambiguity in Japanese garden and villa into a gradient changing from private space to public space.

The in-between space works as the in-front door space, terrace space, neighbor platform, community garden, and other grey scales which are hard to define. Semi-private or semi-public space all bring back the interaction between people in a natural way.
2019, Osaka, Japan
Craig Borum, FAIA
       Claudia Wigger
Team Member:
Yanci Chen
Dongya Wang

Situation Plan

Site Plan

The design in urban scale starts from two typical typologies of residential building: tower building and slab building.

The new towers mark the center of new groups of apartment buildings and the slab buildings surround the landscape and public space on the community scale.

In the community space, we translate the ambiguous gradient relations in the traditional garden to our landscape design, which makes the interior space open to the artificial natural environment and creates levels of activity space for residents.
Wall Section of Tower Building

The tower building is supported by a core inside and bearing walls envelope outside. The interior program is defined by spiral folded slabs. The upside and down space in the unit is analogy of the modern-tatami binary system in typical Japanese apartments. The spiral slabs outside serve as balconies of units and egress circulation of the building at the same time, which provides the opportunity of blurring the boundary between private and public.

The slab building frames the community scale garden space by the linear outdoor circulation(balcony). The interior also defined by folded slabs. The folded moments also work as hidden beams, which make the structure exposed in a subtle way. Same as the tower building, all the service spaces like kitchens and bathrooms are all inserted boxes and have no relation with the main structure, in this way, all the buildings maintained the possibility to reprogram easily.

Because of this special double-layer bearing wall structure system, The interface between balcony(outdoor circulation) and interior can be set totally free with a series of customized pre-cast wood components that can work as the boundary as well as furniture.

The facades have different sizes of openings. The opening of the outside bearing wall respond to the program of the interior and the privacy degree of the in-between space, The larger and more straightforward sight relation implies a more public program inside: the high windows correspond bedrooms inside, The largest openings correspond the living rooms, the totally open areas correspond the neighbor platform in every floor.