Architect: IRA

Location : Tokyo, JAPAN

Re-set architectural language

Attempt to deviate the general definition


In Japan, the minimum offset distance from the external wall to site boundary is set as 1.5m or 1m in general by the Building Regulation, therefore, external walls are somewhat forced to be built further inside from the site boundary line. On top of that, block walls or fences are built to physically visualize the site boundary, which does protect your privacy, therefore, it is important in an urban city.


For this project, 2.1m height block wall stands on top of the site boundary line and secures privacy of the tenant. Meanwhile, the naked columns appear as the renown “external wall” is taken off. This way, it maximizes the internal space and compliments the openness of the space made.


The first thing I tried was to imagine the external wall to be torn off and columns to be exposed and become somewhat like a subframe of the wall. Architects would say, "you can design to follow the structural reliability since columns would be hidden by the finishing". Therefore, in a way, I thought it would be interesting to expose this part of the element. Bulky block wall that withholds the strength shifts out to the boundary line and leaves the weakened “external elements” including naked steel columns.

'' .....Since there were the shoe wall-cabinet and toilet wall in the architectural drawing, I decided to let them bear the lateral force. Their original thickness was 64mm and if it was to be thinner than that, they would be able to retain to act as a ’non-structural wall’. Thus, I designed the wall composed of 50mm pipe and 3.2mm steel thin plate welded sandwich as total thickness of 56.4mm and redefine purpose of bearing wall and non-bearing wall''.


The structure of the external wall abandoned its structural responsibility of bearing lateral force, thus, the thin non-structural wall undertook to do it instead.


Structural elements such as structure itself, frame, finishing, external wall, furniture and non-structural walls have each distinctive responsibility. What is interesting is to see the outcome of shuffling around general structural responsibilities of each structural elements. In fact, the idea of “non-structural wall bearing lateral load” does not make sense.


For this structural planning, it plays around with the general hierarchy of the structural elements and attempts to deviate the so-called skeleton / sub-structure / finishing characters.


Yasuhiro Kaneda, yasuhirokaneda STRUCTURE Director

©yasuhirokaneda STRUCTURE

©yasuhirokaneda STRUCTURE

©yasuhirokaneda STRUCTURE

©yasuhirokaneda STRUCTURE


建築家 :I. R. A. / 国際ローヤル建築設計

場所 : 東京都東村山市

建築言語の再設定 - 一般定義の逸脱を試みる -















金田泰裕 / yasuhirokaneda STRUCTURE Director, Structurist