Friday, September 10, 2010

[Shigeru Ban] The Curtain Wall House

The Statement

In the Curtain Wall House, Shigeru Ban includes striking cloth curtains and large open sides to the building – a play on the duality of transparency and opacity. Using his own cultural experiences, the architect creates a sophisticated and picturesque home that tests the very idea of bringing the outside into a space by almost completely exposing it to the elements.

The Residence

curtain wall : a non-load bearing wall that may or may not be a glass façade.

The curtain wall on the façade of this structure takes on the literal meaning by being portrayed as a large cloth curtain that extends two stories to cover the second and third floors. Minimal in appearance, the residence contains no ornamentation – celebrating its cantilevered structural system and providing a stark contrast to the busy and colored buildings located adjacent to this white frame house. With the curtains open, Ban completely exposes the interior floors to the exterior surroundings, resulting in the establishment of a very public environment; with the curtains drawn, the users envelop themselves in a cloak of privacy from the outside world.


Glass and cloth, notable materials in the Curtain Wall House, both serve as foils to the contemporary steel frame. . To achieve the architect’s goal of letting the inside become apart of the outside, both glass in the sliding window/wall system and the two-story cloth curtain form essential components in the design. At will, the residents choose between the two systems: for example, a public space over a private space, a public space left or right of a private space, etc. Any of these choices produce a unique experience for inhabitants, and show the fluid character of this architectural expression.


Architecture in the 20th Century vol. 1
Peter Gossel, Gabriele Leuthauser
(p. 358-359)

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