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DESIGNER
SHIGERU BAN
DATE
2000
LOCATION
Saitama, Japan
TYPE
residential
USE
Family house
Naked House

Located within a rural landscape of rice fields and greenhouses, the Naked House is one more addition to a long list of atypical Japanese residences. Ban designed it for a five-member family, with specific directions from the owner to create “(…) a house that gives everyone the freedom to have individual activities in a shared atmosphere (…)”. The result was a large, two-story high structure with a flexible open plan arrangement within. The house’s key feature is the idea of having the family rooms located within four mobile wooden boxes. Open on two sides, these lightweight, room-sized units on casters hold the minimum equipment necessary to function as bedrooms while they can move freely about the common area according to the family’s needs. They can also be put side by side to create a larger room, they can be drawn out in the garden and they can even be used as an additional interior level for play-space or storage. The only enclosed space in the house is the bathroom, while nylon curtains mark the laundry and the dressing areas adjacent to it, as well as the kitchen area on the northern wall. The translucent façade walls, which allow the diffusion of light in the interior, are created by sheets of clear corrugated plastic, reinforced with fiberglass, that enclose customized insulation made of polyethylene foam inside clear plastic bags. In 2002, Naked House received the Best House in the World title at the World Architecture Awards.

TRANSFORMABLE DESIGN FEATURES AT A GLANCE
PRINCIPLE
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
sliding
ACTUAL
sliding
TYPE
PHENOMENOLOGICAL
free moving elements
ACTUAL
free moving elements
SYSTEM
manual
ELEMENTS
Mobile rooms
Application Framework
Enclosed Space Open Space
Private Space Public Space
Passive Communication Active
Project Scale
Kinetic Elements Scale
Equipment
People
Intensity of Activity
Fluctuation of Intensity
Periodicity of Fluctuation
Design
New Design Intervention
Requires Support Self Supported
Simple Geometry Complex Geometry
Low Tech High Tech
Manual System Intelligent System
Surface Transformation
Volume Transformation
Morphological Variations
Modularity
Portability
Adaptability
Sustainability
Materials
Conventional Sophisticated
Elastic Rigid
Transparent Opaque
Warm Cold
Weight
Maintenance
Insulation
COST (estimation)

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Image source:

1, 2, 3: McQuaid, M. (2003). Shigeru Ban. New York: Phaidon Press.

Further Reading:

Jeska, S. (2008). Transparent Plastics: Design and Technology.
Basel; Boston; Berlin. Birkhäuser. McQuaid, M. (2003). Shigeru Ban.
New York: Phaidon Press.