Kooo Architects renovated a Machiya home in Kyoto, Japan with white-toned rooms that update the look of the interior while preserving its historical value. A machiya is a type of traditional Japanese house in which the two side walls have no windows because they are shared with the neighboring building. Such an interior tends to be dark, especially due to its long and narrow shape. The architects have succeeded in transforming the residence into a succession of bright, light-flooded interiors through a series of spatial interventions.
Kooo Architects have added a skylight to the main room of the house which, together with the small open-air courtyard, contributes to the lighting and ventilation of the building. Several rooms enjoy a view of this inner courtyard and thus more natural light. All rotten and non-working building materials have been removed to improve sound and heat insulation properties. At the same time, existing elements such as certain beams, columns and the inner courtyard were preserved and restored to their original appearance. In contrast to the modern interior, the beauty of these historical elements is more noticeable and these elements also connect the rooms with each other.
Regarding the design of the facade, the architects respected the historical style of the streets of Kyoto and changed the appearance minimally. Traditional craftsmen were invited to repair only the earthen wall and reclose the decaying wooden window frame.