A project by Christine Hawley Architects
Abigail Ashton and Andrew Porter were project architects for Christine Hawley Architects on the Kitagata Housing project. The proposal for 107 new social housing units in Gifu Prefecture that was part of a masterplan for a new town quarter by Arata Isosaki.
Social Housing in Japan since the war has been based on pattern book design. Each element is standardised and controlled by strict building code. This has inevitably led to monotonous repetition of housing types with poor opportunities for inventiveness and quality of space and design.
The brief form the Japanese government was to break this deadlock and proposals were invited that were innovative and untried. The design team develop a project with a strong elements of vertical space, the majority of apartments were duplex an in some cases triplex, which were unheard of in Japanese social housing.
The apartments are a huge success, initial waiting lists were dramatically oversubscribed by the blue collar workers of Kitagata.