House & Atelier / Atelier Bow-Wow

Architects: Atelier Bow-Wow / Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Momoyo kaijima, Shun Takagi
Location: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo,
Contractor: Nichinan Tekkou Corporation
Construction year: 2005
Structural Engineer: Structural Design Office Oak Inc.
Site Area: 109 sqm
Constructed area: 61 sqm

As it is hard to run 3 places including the university laboratory, we were looking for a site for our house and atelier and ‘a flag shape site’ was up for nomination. A flag shape site is surrounded by buildings and only connected to the road by a narrow strip of land. It is therefore hard to plan or construct on and it is cheaper.

It is a chance to utilize our past experience having changed challenging conditions into positive characteristics of houses. Aiming not to separate the house and the atelier portion, we reached the composition with lower 2 floors for the atelier and upper 2 floors for the house connected with a staircase, the landing of which can be a split-level house itself after studying the conditions. The areas of the stair landings vary from 3 to 10 sqm, and the styles of the stairs also vary to give each space a different degree of privacy.

3D section

To fit the exterior wall inclined by regulations, the interior columns of the 1st and the 3rd floor also incline, and affect the behavior of the people inside. The unexpected forms of spaces inspire our imagination of use. We also dug a well and use the water for radiant cooling and heating. The well water pumped up to the roof streams down on surface of the external wall, cooling the wall by vaporization in the summer. The external wall is covered with granule-faced asphalt to hold the water. It is fun to think of the building as a massive rock sweating, with a dragon like internal water vein, which can be glimpsed between the houses. Vegetable will be planted at the top of the “rock”, and a tall tree and a bench will be at the “flagpole” approach. Our occupation of the place to imprint our memory has just begun.

Cite: "House & Atelier / Atelier Bow-Wow" 26 Aug 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>


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    i must agree with all the previous comments in that it is a great response to a very limiting site. the stratification of levels, the integration of the office and living areas, the clever use of glazing and setbacks to afford maximum natural lighting, the broad yet pragmatic use of materials and its soft address to the street front from its flag-shaped site (battle axe here in oz). nice job yoshi

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    hello thanks for the information!,I really need see the 3D section on the real size because I need the measurement, but I can see that for the resolution of the image, you have this section for download?

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Love the inclined walls that you have used…the amount of natural light coming in, is splendid. Could you tell what angle are those walls at, w.r.t. the floor? Eagerly awaiting your replying!

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