From the Architects:
Having met the client only once, I was again considering what to do about the project of this house, when the client sent me a facsimile making precise requests. What he wanted was described as a house that “provides the least privacy so that the family members are not secluded from one another, a house that gives everyone the freedom to have individual activities in a shared atmosphere, in the middle of a unified family”. After reading his fax, I knew that I should take up this challenge.
The site of the house sits by a river and is surrounded by fields with greenhouses here and there.
The external walls made of two sheets of corrugated fiber-reinforced plastics and the inner walls made of a nylon fabric are both mounted on wooden stud frames and sit in parallel. In between are attached clear plastic bags, carefully stuffed with strings of foamed polyethylene for insulation purpose. Through these bags a soft diffused light fills in the interior of the house.
The house consists of one unique large space of two-story high in which four personal rooms on casters can be moved freely. To reduce weight and optimize mobility, these rooms are not very large and hold a minimum of belongings and fittings. They can be moved accordingly to the needs of their use. Placed against the walls of the house, in front of the heating or air-conditioning units, warm air or a cooling breeze can flow into it. They can also be put side by side and create a larger room, when their sliding doors are removed. They can be taken outside, on the terrace, for the full use of the space inside. They can also work as a supplementary floor for the children to play on top.
This house is, indeed, a result of my vision of enjoyable and flexible living, which evolved from the client’s own vision toward a living and a family life.
For more information about Shigeru Ban's 2014 Pritzker Prize, please read http://www.architectmagazine.com/architecture/shigeru-ban-architects-wins-the-2014-pritzker-prize_o.aspx