Architects: Apollo Architects & Associates
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Structural engineer: Kenta Masaki
Project area: 257 sqm
Project year: 2009 – 2010
Photographs: Masao Nishikawa
Surrounding the site in the outskirts of Tokyo is lush green and a slow-paced environment. The building was commissioned by a family composed of the husband who manages an insurance company, the wife who works as a patternmaker and their two children. It was planned as a SOHO, with a space for the yoga classes run by the wife added to the house.
The distinguishing exterior consists of a wooden volume covered with a luminescent wall sitting on top of a base made of exposed concrete engrained with the texture of Japanese cedar.
In sharp contrast to the exterior that is closed to the outside world, an inner courtyard pierces the center of the structure. With a hollow center, the house is easy walk around and allows for the presence of family members to be felt from anywhere. The symbolic tree in the courtyard plays a central role in sustaining the equilibrium of the architecture.
On the ground floor, the living room and dining kitchen face each other across the courtyard while a sculptural staircase is positioned across the courtyard from the entrance. The staircase is symbolic in its presence and gives expansiveness to the spaces together with the courtyard.
On the first floor, the multi-purpose room is used for yoga classes and for other activities, while small gardens are positioned around bedrooms providing light and openings.
Incorporating an open-air garden within it, the house makes it possible to fully enjoy the Japanese four seasons. The contrast between the external and the internal will help to keep a fresh mind in everyday life.