From the Meji Period to today the genkan (a Japanese house-entry-cum-doormat) has evolved from a space of etiquette to a functionalistic space, and nowadays to a space of convenience. In the Meji Period a representative house had three entrances with a front genkan (表玄関), an inner genkan (内玄関), and a katteguchi (an outside connecting door) in the kitchen, reflecting the different social statuses of the master, family members, and servants. Etiquette required a long spatial sequence from the main entrance to the reception rooms, carefully designed and staging the best views to the garden. In post-war apartment houses the traditional design of the genkan was simplified to make it a compact space containing various functions such as storage, washing, receiving goods, or making phone calls. In essence it is designed as a public space inside an apartment. However, in contemporary high-rise residential buildings the boundary between the private interior and the public exterior has been overly stretched by the introduction of common entrance lobbies where guests can be welcomed on the ground floor. Moreover, a series of technical devices, such as cameras, sensors, automatic doors, elevators, and intercoms, have been introduced for security, accessibility, and comfort, again physically lengthening the distance to the private door to an even greater extent.

Mosquito Net

The primary and original goal of a mosquito net, or amido in Japanese, is to keep out insects, to protect the interior of the house from undesired outside intruders. As such it is a useful boundary device that complements other similar types, such as the screen or the wall, while still letting in light or air. Yet as the lightest and most transparent of barrier mechanisms, the mosquito net also allows a series of non-intended interactions, emotional as well as physical, ranging from the gentle to the aggressive: allowing the observer to see without being seen, allowing a nasty mosquito to bite without encroaching. Much more than a simple boundary, the mosquito net is a lively interface.