Hojo Sanci, Kamakura

Designed by: Schemata Architects
For client: iC Inc. / PARTY Floor area: 268.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: 年度共享办公空间

Public Score
3.46 Function
3.38 Innovation
3.42 Creativity

About the Project

This 88-year-old traditional Japanese house is located in a quiet residential area in the city of Kamakura. We were commissioned to renovate it into a residence and collective office.

The house was originally built by a naval officer and owned by the Hojo family. HOJO SANCI literally translates to "Hojo's Home" --- embodying our concept that people in this space can feel like they are not at an office, but at someone's home. There is a Japanese garden at the site, rich with lush greenery extending from surrounding nature. A meditation room and a shower room also support users' productivity and lifestyles.

All rooms face outside, and the interior has been turned into a single open space by removing all fusuma (sliding partitions of thick paper framed in wood) that were dividing the rooms. The floor is raised above the ground by 60 cm, and mostly finished with tatami (straw mats). The existing wall and ceiling finishes of the house exude distinct beauty that has evolved over a long period of time. We intended to enhance such aesthetics by keeping the original finishes as they are, while partially exposing the substructure.

When we observed the features of the house, we decided to focus on floor heights and finishes, treating them as means to express different spatial characters, and defining spatial and functional zones. Repetitious contrasts between organic and inorganic elements create an integrated and harmonious atmosphere in the house.

What’s unique about it

Over 830 years ago, Kamakura became the birthplace of Japan's first samurai government, the Kamakura shogunate. To this day, shrines and temples, especially Zen temples, that offer lush surroundings, remain in this "City of the Samurai." A large number of talented creatives also reside in the area. At the same time, while Tokyo, an hour's drive away, boasts over 100 co-working spaces, very few co-working spaces exist in Kamakura.

We refer to HOJO SANCI as a "collective office." Currently, an eclectic collective of creatives including graphic designer, AI engineer, lawyer, magazine editor, stylist, is sparking a new creative culture. In August 2018, an artificial intelligence-leveraging creative boutique kick-started here. A long-term goal is to involve experts in technologies such as AI and robotics to cultivate a harmonious mingling of creatives and the rich nature of Kamakura.

The renovation preserved and made the most use out of the existing elements and materials of this well-kept 88-year-old house. We especially focused on the freedom to choose working environments within HOJO SANCI through designing the floor areas by the specific function of each space. Varying elevations offer users a dynamic range of perspectives, as well as a view of greenery and vibrancy regardless of where they are sitting. To create consistency in the organic versatility of the house, we strategically inserted inorganic gray furniture throughout.

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