frontoffice/tokyo designed the ‘Minami Azabu House’ in Tokyo, Japan.
Description from the architects:
In Japan the building code enforces an envelope under which any building must fit. The rules are designed to guarantee access to light for neighbours, which makes sense in a dense urban environment. Ironically, on a landlocked parcel of the type we were given the rules also ensure the lower levels of any building constructed will be submerged in shadow. It is in fact tempting to simply live in the dark. The building code also ensures the largest floor areas are available on the lowest floors, and the impulse is often to design a home so the living area will be as large as possible. Simply accepting the darkness is not uncommon, especially on small properties. The ambitious architect may work at mitigating the effect by building a deep light well to be certain residents will at least see the reflected light of the sun if not the sky during the day – a Tokyo lifestyle is as a result often dark and introverted.
Here we took a different tack, and reversed the standard typology – the main bedrooms are on the second floor, parking, a hard-surface landscape, and a guest room are on the ground, and the living areas are lifted to the top of the home where they are connected to the city by a series of decks and a stairway to a large roof deck. Since the ground level does not receive enough light to make a proper garden we chose to move the ground to the third floor and to the roof, planting it with gardens that will allow the owners of the home to have large green spaces in the centre of the city.
In a city like Tokyo space is a luxury. By keeping the ground level open the city becomes a kind of backdrop to the entrance. In the same way the decks and balconies that open the home to the city create an enormous outdoor space that is very nearly unheard of in such a site.
|Project Architect||Koen Klinkers, Will Galloway, Max Kim|