All images © Katsumasa Tanaka courtesy Tan Yamanouchi & AWGL
Get ready for a storybook come to life – this manga artist’s dream house in Tokyo by Tan Yamanouchi & AWGL, is a compact wonderland where creativity runs wild! The artist had three requests. The space should accommodate every step of the artist’s creative process, from concept to media interviews. Second, the house should be compact, with limited outdoor exposure. And last, it should have a sense of charm that boosts creativity.
The house was conceived as “a building that floats a few centimeters above our daily lives,” like a fantastical dream that occupies a liminal space between fiction and reality. It’s a concept inspired by artist Masamune Shirow’s groundbreaking manga (and subsequent movie and TV show) “Ghost in the Shell.” In that world, where the line between virtual and real worlds are heavily blended, the ghost is meant to represent a certain dualism.
In that same way, the design for this home represents a dualism in which architecture and artist tell a story together, transforming the land as it rises dynamically from the ground.
The entrance is straight out of a manga, with a seismic wall that looks like earth is rising dynamically from the ground, bending in a surreal yet organic fashion. The entrance tunnel is like a portal, inviting visitors to step out of their ordinary lives into something extraordinary.
The architect has maximized the narrow and long plot of land by creating a split-level floor plan with two floors in front and three at back. A light court (1.2 m wide, 5.5 m maximum height) on the north side of the house adds contrast to the darkness of rest of the house.
The bathroom is semi-underground with a small circular window as the only daylight source in conflict with the rest of the wall wrapped in black wallpaper. “The room is semi-underground, so the clients can enjoy the view of the moonlit night while maintaining their privacy” said Yamanouchi.
Previous manga ateliers required large, open rooms where the artist and assistant would work together. But in today’s post-covid, remote work environment that is no longer the case. Today, the work process of a manga artist could be segregated into three phases : creation (secluded), meetings (partially secluded), and interviews (open). The central area was devised to be full of contrasts of high and low, light and dark , creating intangible boundaries, considering the work process requirement of spaces from public to private, in a compact area. “We strive to continue creating architecture that embraces open narratives while pursuing logical solutions”, concludes Yamanouchi while reflecting on the firm’s ideology.