December 9, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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ROOVICE brings new life to century-old house in shimada, japan

revitalizing neglected shimada house – 島田の家 by ROOVICE 


ROOVICE has brought new life to an old neglected house in shimada, japan, transforming it into a bright office space. as the former residential building was left carelessly to rot, the changes that it had to undergo, were dramatic and concerned different aspects — from the replacement of the rotten and unrepairable parts both inside and outside the construction to the design of the interior spaces and distribution. however, the design team maintained some original elements or reconstructed them, in an attempt to link the different time periods that the dwelling has gone through.

all images by ROOVICE



transforming a dark space into a bright working area


the house presented an extension along the whole side of the construction facing the courtyard that exceeds the dimension of the original structure. this was added years after the initial building had been completed, and it started to show its age quite evidently. the pinkish corrugated steel on the facade and the roof got covered by a layer of rust caused by a long time of decay and lack of maintenance. therefore, the architects (see more here) opted for new metal plates, employing the same corrugated shape and the same texture as the old ones, but with a grey color as the only variation. meanwhile, the high metal fence that surrounded the property is now open along the public street, letting plenty of daylight enter the structure, turning a dark and enclosed space into a bright working area.


the design team applied the same strategy to the interior as well. the renovation started from removing and demolishing all the broken and damaged elements which got unsustaining during the years and the state of disuse in which the house has been for a long time. the extension’s walls and ceiling have been repaired and covered with wooden panels all over their surface. the entrance floor is made of polished concrete and it lays on a lower level than the other rooms, adopting a traditional feature of the japanese-style houses dubbed ‘doma’. both the primary and secondary structure of the extension has been reinforced by adding some new beams and pillars, especially where the external corrugated metal sheets have been replaced. along with them, the wooden structure that supports the metal cover has been fixed as well.ROOVICE brings new life to a century-old house in shimada, japan



testifying its past


most of the furniture has been removed and replaced with contemporary wood and metal tables and stools. the architects sought to add the structure a bright, light, and transparent atmosphere, welcoming guests into a pleasant working environment. however, they decided to keep the original washbasin in the same location where it was in the first place. not only because it is preserved in a surprisingly well state, but also because it has a crucial part in linking all the different time periods in which the dwelling has been built. the washbasin left is a testimony of the past, and together with the structure of the 100-year-old core, is now a part of the contemporary design where the beauty of renovation takes place.


the final result is a design with a clear distinction between old and new, as original parts and extensions stood out already from approaching the project. the renovation work made the contrast even stronger and evident, reinforcing the nature itself of the building. ‘shimada house’ is used to show its age and the different ages in which it has been built: the main work was to fit them together, and after the restoration, this is achieved in every aspect.


ROOVICE brings new life to century-old house in shimada, japan
adding new beams and pillars

ROOVICE brings new life to a century-old house in shimada, japan
a pleasant working space

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