In this installment of the Unique Homes in Japan series, we feature an example of how a single-family home built amidst urban density does not have to mean sacrificing open space and a connection to nature.
This five-story townhouse located in a dense commercial district in Tokyo was designed by Ryue Nishizawa, one half of the Priztker Prize-winning firm SANAA.
The site was just four meters (13 feet) wide and wedged between two much taller buildings, so the architect used glass walls to open up the interior spaces with natural light.
As Nishizawa explains via Dezeen: “The entirety is a wall-less transparent building designed to provide an environment with maximum sunlight despite the dark site conditions. “Every room, whether it is the living room, private room or the bathroom, has a garden of its own so that the residents may go outside to feel the breeze, read a book or cool off in the evening and enjoy an open environment in their daily life.”
The owners are both writers, who use the building as both their home and workspace.
Staircases spiral up through the building and pass through circular openings in the thick concrete floor boards. A final opening cuts through the roof to allow taller plants to reach through to the rooftop terrace.
Each of the floors has its own garden, creating a screen of plants that provide privacy from passersby, and glazed walls beyond protect the interior from the elements.
The bedrooms are located on the first and third floors and are separated from meeting and study areas with glass screens and curtains.