峠のグループホーム  東京都八王子市


Group Home on Hill Pass     Hachioji, Tokyo

This is a group home for people with intellectual disabilities built on a hill pass.  Four people live here while receiving assistance from caretakers.  This architecture is asked to work for the better life of them, and every single element of architecture is designed not to represent things, but to do something.  The site is located on unsunny northern slope.  The cross-section of the building seeks sunlight and ventilation.  Also, due to satisfy the building standard as a welfare facility, the structure is embedded in the slope to keep flat access from the road.  The large window slightly higher than eye-level facing the north side clears the line of sight of the people who go around the city, creating a constantly open-minded atmosphere in both worlds across the window.  At night, the leaking lights illuminate the previously dark streets like lanterns.  The structure consists of a hybrid of concrete and wood.  The retaining wall goes up to be the exterior wall, and timber beams frame floors.  By minimizing concrete floor slab, construction formwork support and thermal bridge are reduced.  On the second floor, a step like the bench is set in the private room, and the floor finish is changed so that the residents are easy to have affection.  The light leaking from the gap at night softly connects the upper to lower floor, and the caretaker on the first floor can see the life rhythm of the residents on the second floor, which is essential for the operation of group homes. The stairs are suspended by steel rods which serve as fences for fall prevention.  These ideas were refined as the ideal form of this architecture through surveys of many similar facilities and interviews with caretakers.  Small social welfare facilities have been forgotten by architects although social workers seriously demand the power of design.