Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

U House Via Dezeen Magazine

The story on U House can be found on - HERE on February 29, 2016.

Give it a read and a look-see and then come back here, as I provider my own take on this architectural design, keeping in mind that I appreciate good architecture, and know what I like and what I do not like.

Above, is a building known as U House, designed by Japanese architect Ishida Kentari (surname first), constructed on the fringes of Tokyo.

Dezeen is an on-line architecture and design magazine - and quite a good one, at that with about 1.75-milion unique visitors a month. 

I"ll let you click through to their site to get the full story, but suffice to say, it's a showpiece for Ishida's steel-plated house that has a specially-designed roof that maximizes sunlight for residents.

Regular readers of this blog will note that 'sunlight' and 'Japan' are usually oxymoronic in their use, but admittedly Japan does get blue sky sunlight every once in a while - just not when your not-so-humble author used to travel around the country.
It looks nice... but to me, having such high ceilings is a waste of space. It actually looks like you could have an entire second floor there... but I suppose this design is all about open space. I do like the low living room window, which provides ease of view while seated... bit where does one keep their outdoor shoes???
In my opinion, U House is effing ugly… on the outside, but is pleasant enough on the inside.

Typical of a Japanese house, a grass backyard is absent.

Also absent, however, are the typical tatami mat floors…

I freely admit - having a non-Japanese background - that I really dig the architecture of the old-style Japanese housing that was prevalent during the Edo-jidai (Edo period) between the 1600s-1868AD.

That was when one could look at a building and say - that's a Japanese building.

One of the more disheartening things I saw in Japan when I was there between 1990-1993, was the proliferation of new builds that had a North American vibe to it.

Gone were the classic roofing style of Japan, replaced by the boring A-frame roofs and tile arrangements.

Granted the U House by Ishida isn't your typical A-frame, but by using steel-plating on the upper floor of the building, he has made the building look like a shiny, lop-sided barn.

There… I said it.

Look at the photograph at the top of U House. It looks spectacular with the blue, cloudless sky in the background, right?

Now picture it for the other 300 days of the year (assuming that there might be 64 other days of blue sky), when the sky is grey… the whole structure will just blend in horribly with its surroundings.

And what's with all of those wires surrounding the place?

You know what surrounds my place in Toronto? Trees. Grass. Bushes. Nesting birds. Rabbits. Nesting squirrels. I've even seen a fox, coyote and a deer in the backyard over the years. Yeah, and raccoon's of course.

At U House, I see concrete (not cement, I think), steel, wood… a doorway to no where, electrical wires… a house devoid of personable personality.

I'm not saying Dezeen magazine has done anything wrong, but wow… that's a fugly-looking building to be doing a story on.

I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder - and it certainly is a beauty on the inside, but is that just a Japanese-thing? Do they care mow about the inside than the outside?

I would say NO… otherwise why would the architect care so much about the outer aesthetics.

No… I think this is an architect who has found a style he likes and is working the heck out of it.

It's not quite my cup of o-cha.
Ground Floor layout
Although called the First Floor layout, to my North American eyes, this is the second-floor layout.
Called the second floor layout, this is (for us westerners) the third-floor layout. At least there's a skylight...
Now… forget about what I just said.

What do you think about it?

And, more importantly, if you could afford it (don't know its asking price), would you live in it?

Pretend it's just you and your significant other… or husband or wife… no kids… pretend it was placed in your neighborhood or in your ideal neighborhood… that you could afford the property taxes et al… is this a good-looking house that you would want to live in?

Andrew Joseph


  1. I just keep thinking about what happens if you get a leaky roof. You can't reach it from the inside and it's way too steep to stand on the roof on the outside.

    1. Well... it is too steep for you and I... I ain't even getting up on the ladder!