Structural EngineerMasaki Structure Laboratory (Kenta Masaki)
Lighting DesignerSIRIUS LIGHTING OFFICE
Text description provided by the architects. This small house in a residential district in eastern Tokyo is home to a couple and their young children. The dark grey galvalume cladding blends gently into the surrounding environment, as if it has been there for many years. Because the lot sits across the street from an elementary school, the clients requested a design that ensured privacy yet was as open as possible.
Private spaces such as bedrooms are located on the first floor, while the second floor contains a family room with a high, sloped ceiling finished in walnut planks aligned lengthwise to give the space a greater feeling of depth and dynamic connection.
In order to make maximum use of the lot’s narrow frontage, the second floor of the façade consists of one large window. This, however, is covered with wooden louvers that shield the interior from view of passersby and the school, while still allowing in light, breezes, and views. A steel staircase in the family room provides access to the roof but also functions as a sculptural element accenting the high-ceilinged room.
The rooftop is surrounded by walls, creating a private courtyard that serves as an additional living and dining area. Clerestory windows facing onto this terrace bring soft natural light into the family room throughout the day.
While the house is small, it is innovatively designed so that family members can move through the vertical space and find their own favorite places to relax; for instance, because the husband enjoys DJing as a hobby, there is a DJ booth next to the first-floor bedroom. This, perhaps, is the unique freedom and pleasure of a small urban house.