The “House N” according to Sou Fujimoto’s book “The Moment When Architecture Was Born” 

Sou Fujimoto’s iconic House N was revived as a model at the exibition “The Window: A Journey of Art and Architecture through Windows” held at the National Museum of Art, Tokyo from November 2019 to Februrary 2020.

Enjoy some pictures of the model of House N with the text from Fujimoto’s book “建築が生まれるとき (The moment when architecture was born)” published in 2010. It doesn’t appear that there is an English translation.

Architecture that captures “in between” 

Sou Fujimoto’s iconic House N was revived as a model at the exibition “The Window: A Journey of Art and Architecture through Windows” held at the National Museum of Art, Tokyo from November 2019 to Februrary 2020.

Enjoy some pictures of the model of House N with the text from Fujimoto’s book “建築が生まれるとき (The moment when architecture was born)” published in 2010. It doesn’t appear that there is an English translation.

In discussing the House N in the book, he mentions “あいだの建築,” which means architecture of “in-between.” Fujimoto points out that, when people say “in between city and houses” for example, they are point to something that is otherwise undefinable. Even when no one knows exactly what is in between the two elements, the word “in-between” definitely captures certain spaces.

But what is it? “In-between” is intangible. The two elements that sandwich “in-between” are physical elements, but in-between is always transparent. Buildings are destined to be physical mass, always opaque and cannot move. But if you can architecturize “in-between,” it can be the ultimate form of architecture which can be flexible, undefinable that can go beyond tangible elements.  

House N

House N is located in a residential area in Oita City (the capital of Oita Prefecture in Kyusyu). It is an ambiguous “place to live” that is semi-city and semi-house defined by three boxes. The outer shell covers the entire area with many openings. As the openings do not have shields nor winddowns, what’s going on outside, such as rain and wind, can penetrate inside. 

You could call it part of the garden, but it’s really where the boundaries of urban environment and residential area become blur and the two become blended. 

The second shell covers the interior.  It is the exterior as it covers the interior, but it’s also still the interior compared to the space created by the outer shell.

The third one is the box – a house within a house. 

The idea is to capture multiple layers that must exist in between a city and a house, which is usually ignored and usually carelessly defined by single layer of walls. Fujimoto imagines that people “lead a life” by constantly changing their distance with the outer environment; sometimes they want to open to it, some other times the want to hide from it.