House in a Plum Grove is a three-story edifice on a corner plot in a Tokyo neighborhood and a prime example of Sejima’s residential architectural work. Known for her elegant use of simple forms and industrial materials like steel and glass, she achieves maximum impact by generating unexpected spaces that break from modern architecture’s characteristic focus on functionality. Unlike typical residential layouts, which feature large shared living areas, this house offers a range of spaces that may be adapted to changing daily routines. Rethinking traditional notions of privacy, the building includes interior walls punctuated with variously sized openings and composed of extremely thin, prefabricated steel plate. This increases the feeling of connectivity inside the home, as the apertures allow activities occurring in one room to be seen and overheard from another. With its unique combination of structural precision and flexible, experientially rich spaces, the house expresses the boundless potential of small-scale living.
The creation of study models in different scales and materials is essential to the conceptual and design development of Sejima’s projects, where it replaces the architectural sketch. The large size of this model—its physical presence and materiality—underscore Sejima’s interest in studies that allow for an empirical experience of the design.
Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)