The existing building was divided into two tenants, one of which was a commercial tenant space facing the wide bustling road and the other was a residential space facing the narrow alley. By removing the wall in between and integrating them into one section, an open workplace was realized where wind, light and people pass through.

At first, a 3.5 meters wide road-like space (=Tori Doma) was installed to connect the two roads. By reinterpreting ‘Tori-Doma’ which can be seen in traditional Japanese houses within the interior, flexible use depending on the furniture placement was made possible. In this way, the new studio can also easily accommodate future changes in the number of people.

The previous tenant used as wide as possible to the boundary as its private interior space, but we set back the position of the entrance door about 1.5 meters to experimentally create an external piloti space (=Engawa, which is typical semi-outdoor space in Japanese traditional house), to serve as a local community gathering space.

To support the diverse, free use of the workplace, the fixtures and curtains are designed to allow spatial change. By fully opening the sliding doors with polycarbonate sheets, the Tori-Doma will be connected to the wide road via Engawa. Meanwhile, if the large sliding door is opened, the meeting space will be interlinked to the city. By incorporating multiple connections between interior / exterior spaces or between rooms, the office instantly opens to diverse possibilities.

With the spread of COVID-19, the effectiveness of remote work is becoming clear, and the style of commuting to high-density offices in the city center by a crowded train is likely to be abolished. However, it does not mean that the physical office space will simply disappear, especially in the profession such as architects that mainly focuses on physical creation. Under such a situation, the reality of avoiding the high-dense city center and having a workplace and a house close to each other in a good environment is increasing as a desirable model of working style.

This office has features such as excellent natural ventilation and a platform that can flexibly respond to frequently changing work styles. Though it was designed before COVID-19, we hope that the idea of the location and the architectural features will represent a new model of the workplace after/with COVID-19.

New flexible and open studio for an architectural design office, which features will represent a new model of the workplace after/with COVID-19.