A Roll of Dice in the Gap Site: Hairdressing Salon in Niigata by Takuya Hosokai
In planning a hairdressing and beauty salon in Niigata, a provincial capital in Japan, Takuya Hosokai and his studio had just eight months from design to construction and the equivalent of some 120,000 euros for the project. The new building is located in a district of closely-packed single-family homes a ten minute drive from the city centre, and it is the compartmentalised arrangement of the neighbouring buildings that Hosokai references in his design. Five cubes differing in floor area and height extend deep into the plot practically all the way to the back, but maintain a distance at the sides to the considerably higher neighbouring houses. The volumes are monolithic in effect but are built of wood clad uniformly on the outside in slabs of grey fibrated cement.
Arresting cross-vistas and through views are to be had at the places where the volumes intermerge, whereas the building’s openings are more designed to create varied light moods than provide views of what is a somewhat unspectacular neighbourhood. The four foremost cubes form a linear sequence of zones for the main functions of a hairdressing salon: a tunnel-like entrance with a reception and waiting area, an introverted room for cutting hair, a staff room and a hair-washing room that opens up to a patio at the back. The rearmost and highest of the five volumes is accessed separately from the outside and contains an exhibition space at present. Later on it is to become an apartment for the owner of the hairdressing salon.
Hosokai names the interplay of intimacy and openness, indoors and outdoors, figure and ground as the main themes of his design. There is no hierarchy of indoor and outdoor spaces, volumes and voids. Rather, as customers pass through the building, they are to gain the impression of wandering through a city the size of a single-family house.
Contractor: Inoue Architectural Design Inc.