Void Masonry: Half-Transparent Home Built of Light & Steel


Solids and voids – arguably the two core elements to any design – are viscerally and visibly at the heart of this home. It is defined inside and out by a bold shell; this wrapper alternates rhythmically between solid-sheet steel and transparent ceramic-coated glass.

Atelier TEKUTO wanted to take lessons from both the brick-by-brick masonry approach to traditional architecture, and the frame-and-cladding strategies that reached new heights with modern skyscrapers – then overlap and stitch them back together in a unique but affordable little Japanese residence.

On the exterior, the pixelated pattern creates a compelling facade. On the interior, deep (and notably load-bearing) steel boxes serve as shelving and are depth-optimized to let in less heat during the summer and more during the winter.

Beyond the lovely contemporary patterns created through light and shadow alone, there is a deeper method at work here: a philosophical stance about the inside of a home being wide open, with your life on display, while the exterior reveals little of the depth (metaphorical or otherwise) that waits within.

Surprisingly simple in plan, and modular in execution, a little material goes a long way in making these spaces engaging on all sides – it is less about strange and engaging shapes, and much more about the careful balance of small and large scales, open and shut modules, solids and voids, lights and darks.

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