Segments in this Video

Sugimoto House Introduction (00:58)


The blueprint escaped a fire in 1864, allowing reconstruction four years later. The house belongs to a family of Kyoto fabric traders

Japanese Spatial Relationships (01:53)

There are no walls or windows in a traditional house. Rooms are side by side without furniture; "Ma" is the concept of space between objects or events.

Sugimoto Facade (01:32)

The 30 meter facade indicates wealth. Entrance to the house came through the fabric shop that buffered the living quarters from the street.

Buddhist Home Orientation (02:31)

The eastern "Ke" area contains living quarters. The western "Hare" area contains reception rooms. A passage separates formal from informal space, reflecting "Oku" or depth.

Sugimoto House Layout (01:17)

An East-West axis measures sacred space and a North-South axis measures visitor importance. On the "noble" side are gardens and safes; on the "prosaic" side are toilets and bins.

Sugimoto Roof Construction (02:34)

"Yane," or roof, is the root of the house. Timbers fit together without nails in case of fire. Carpenters have equal value to architects in Japan.

Sugimoto House Foundation (01:13)

The two main posts ensure lateral stability; the rest of the house is built on piles resting on flat stone. A crawl space allows air circulation.

Sugimoto House Codes (01:57)

Guests remove shoes when entering. "Tatami" mats are the dimensions of a person and provide room size dimensions. Orthogonal floor patterns identify each room.

Sugimoto Room Demarcations (02:36)

Floor and joist grooves allow detachable paper screens that divide the house into a series of empty spaces. They are safe in earthquakes but provide no insulation from cold or noise.

Sugimoto Living Spaces (00:56)

Placed objects and furniture denote room function, allowing total flexibility.

Sugimoto House Lighting (01:16)

The architect values and emphasizes shadows, rather than light.

Sugimoto House Spatial Hierarchy (01:35)

"Oku" refers to hidden places farthest from the street, where important guests are received. The largest room opens to the garden, the most highly valued space.

Sugimoto House Garden (00:60)

Gardeners maintain hundred year old moss, trees, and stones in the protected space. Proximity to nature facilitates meditation.

Western Room (01:57)

A garden veranda and paper screens create a dialogue with the surrounding environment. A 1929 addition is the only permanent, enclosed space.

Sugimoto House Legacy (01:32)

Since 1743, the structure has survived fire, earthquakes, war, and speculative builders. Although a cultural center, Sugimoto family members still occupy the space.

Credits: The House of Sugimoto: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:34)

Credits: The House of Sugimoto: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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The House of Sugimoto: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
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The Sugimoto house is a large town house, comprising over 15 rooms, with a complex organization, linked to the family's activities. Built in 1743 it has no walls or windows; rooms are placed side by side. The house belongs to the Sugimoto family that made its fortune trading material for kimonos. The building contains a shop, family living quarters and employees' living quarters. A strict hierarchy presides over the layout, determined by the nature of the ground and the cardinal points. The walls are made from openwork wooden panels with paper frames that slide along grooves in the floor. The furniture defines the space and each space can change function. This fluid and flexible design is one of the inspirations of contemporary architecture.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL65332

ISBN: 978-1-60057-643-0

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

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