One of the earliest works of the self-taught architect Tadao Ando is the Azuma House in Sumiyoshi.
In this house the two main spaces were daily activity happens are divided by the insertion of an abstract middle space were light and wind become the protagonists. Ando’s goal was to question the direction that the human habitat had been taking during the last decades.
Thanks to the Azuma House, Ando received the award from the Japan Association of Architecture in 1976.
Located in Sumiyoshi, Osaka, the Azuma House replaces one of the traditional houses in the area built in wood. While this area is not the most chaotic in the city, there is a clear contrast between this “concrete box” and its surrounding buildings.
Built between walls from its neighbor buildings the house stands on a 57.3 m² lot, with a total built-up area of 64.7 m² divided into three parts as you move from the street to the back of the plot, one built, one void which makes for the central patio and another built.
The kitchen and living room are located on the ground floor, separated by the patio which also acts as a connection between the ground floor and first floor as it hosts the staircase. On the upper floor there are to bedrooms communicated by a walkway through the patio.
The patio serves as the vertebral spine of the house and the home, separating spaces but also connecting them visually. On the ground floor the patio separates the living room from the dining room, kitchen and a bathroom, whereas on the first floor it separates the kids bedroom from the master bedroom.
The patio has no roof and is the only source of natural light that the living spaces get as the house has a completely blind concrete façade that’s only interrupted by the entry door and gives no clue as for what might be hiding behind it.
The house predominant and most obvious construction material is reinforced concrete, which is left exposed on the front façade creating the iconic image of this house.