Renovation

Tsuta House by SPEAC – more than a renovation


Photo © Takeshi Yamagishi
 
When so called “IVY House,” an abandoned house in Tokyo renovated by SPEAC, was posted at ArchDaily and Dezeen a few weeks ago, it was not received well by their readers. It made me wonder since the house captured my heart instantly. I started to think about a cultural difference in food. Most Japanese would salivate seeing alive fish, but on the contrary, Westerners would react differently – many of them associate the smell of bad fish. Unless you grew up in Tokyo in the late ’60s through early ’70s, probably it’s difficult to see this project the way I do, and for most, probably it’s just meaningless.

The original house was something typical that I had seen as a kid growing up in a middle-class neighborhood of Tokyo in the late ’60s. One has to understand the living standard of middle-class Japan during the ’60s through the early ’70s was that of a lower class in the United States. I grew up both in New York and Tokyo as a child and could never forget the contrast between the two very different qualities of lives.

It’s easy to figure out that this project had a small budget from the start, and that made the outcome of the project special. Let’s put it this way, a middle-class home built in a developing East Asian country in the late ’60s gets a recession-style makeover of 2009. What we see here is nothing fancy or cool (well, it is actually COOL). The void between the two eras, before and after the collapse of the “bubble economy” in Japan during the ’80s, is omnipresent throughout the house. If you cannot appreciate it as a good renovation, I suggest you see it as art!

I will omit the statement from SPEAC and call it Tsuta House instead of IVY House on this blog Continue Reading