in a residential area of setagaya ward, tokyo, creative studio GENETO has designed a house with a distinct twisted volumetry to accommodate a family of three and their two cats. the concept seeks to prioritize both human and animal needs, generating a series of functional spaces equipped with window niches, shelves, stairs, and atriums, — typical cat favorites.
all images by yasutake kondo
‘this is not the first human-plus-animal home project, but it was the first time a project has focused on cats’ mentions the GENETO team. all discussions with the clients were conducted from the pets’ point of view, as if the cats themselves were speaking. the composition of the space was determined by three requirements: the scale of the city, human needs, and pets’ needs, all of them combined with each other.
the exterior shape of the building was formed to provide maximum space to the occupants and their cats. the rectangular plan is placed parallel to the waterway on the north side of the property, and the roof shape, cut by the diagonal line of the front road, looks like a twisted surface. the dwelling develops on three layers, with the first one housing a wet area and a functional space, the second layer taking shape as an LDK (japanese housing abbreviation for a layout that includes a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen), and the third serving as the bedroom.
GENETO discussed extensively with the family about their pets’ lifestyle, asking about the place where two cats play, hide, look outside, or where they go to the toilet. soon, it became apparent that the cats’ movement is very diverse and should be imprinted within the setting of the new interior. ‘we tried to satisfy the needs of cats by presenting the behavior and character of each cat as a scene’ the architects explain.
‘cats often look for a window seat, go behind the curtains, and spend time looking outside. they also climb onto shelves and sometimes sit there like a vase or a doll’ GENETO shares. ‘when talking about the presence of a cat, there should always be certain amenities in the room and open space for visibility’ the team adds. the cats’ needs and preferences were translated into a spatial composition, where the overall layout as well as the furniture arrangement were solved accordingly.