Architects: APOLLO Architects & Associates – Satoshi Kurosaki
Location: Koenji Minami Suginami, Tokyo, Japan
Completion: December 2011
Site Area: 37.70 sqm
Total Floor Area: 93.44 sqm
Photographs: Masao Nishikawa
This house was located in a residential area not far from a main downtown thoroughfare. The small southeastern corner plot, which had been subdivided from a larger piece of land, measured a slight 65sqm. The clients, a couple in their 30s who are keen architecture enthusiasts, requested a timeless design that would accommodate this small space.
Because passageways leading to other houses ran along the south-facing side of this deep plot with a narrow frontage, we installed windows in a random arrangement that would allow direct sunlight into the house. In contrast, privacy was a major concern for the side of the house facing the road, which we decided to enclose with wooden louvers. The contrast between the windows and the external walls clad in deep brown galvalume steel sheets created a sober and stately facade for this corner building.
The pilotis area accommodates both the entrance and a small parking space, while the first floor houses the master bedroom and a storeroom-cum-gallery containing the husband’s cherished collection of bicycles. The family room on the second floor features a stairwell that makes use of the slanting wall, which emerged as a result of setback-line limit considerations. A steady and diffuse stream of light pours into the interior from the skylight. By boosting the ceiling height of this narrow, single-roomed space, we were able to emphasize the depth of the plot while concealing the narrowness of the frontage.
A study room on the third floor makes clever use of the corridor facing the stairwell. The two hobby areas adjoining the study have a loft-like vibe that comes from the slanting walls, allowing the inhabitants to bask in the sunlight while remaining pleasantly absorbed in their activities.
Although the house is a “micro” urban residence whose total floor area measures only 93sqm, it consists of a single, interconnected habitat that takes the form of a vertically continuous one-room space. A simple view of its external facade gives few imaginative cues as to the surprisingly rich and varied interior space that lies within.