At first this house seems monolithic, imposing and rugged – a solid solid mass poured on the site and sliced open at seemingly random intervals. What is therefore most amazing about this home is the incredible attention to detail: careful consideration went into every angle cut in the smooth concrete exterior wall, which itself varies in thickness with a razor-like precision.
This so-called Slit Home by Eastern Design Office is best appreciated at the most finite level of its structure – from the custom-calculated window slits that let daylight tell the passing of time to the very concrete-and-aggregate mixture that make up its structural perimeter walls and visible outside surfaces.
Achieving smoothness and simplicity with concrete is far more difficult than most people realize. Any skilled architect knows to be wary of sharp corners because – unless it is mixed, poured and dried just right – concrete edges break extremely easily. In tune with many Japanese cultural design traditions, these architects took this difficulty and slowly manipulated it into an amazing (if subtle) asset.
In fact, many of the decorative conventions found in conventional contemporary homes (such as baseboards, door and window trimming) came about as ways to cover hard-to-correct mistakes that carpenters take for granted when building a house.
Constructing something that is this minimal, clear and simple is a much more difficult and strategic operation than building a typical home – despite the impression that the latter is more complex because it has more visible parts.