the A-1 house, designed by japanese studio naf architect & design is characterized by a narrow, curving volume which negotiates between the crowded neighboring residences. the shard-like front elevation which faces the quiet street of tokyo’s setagaya ward contrasts the long strip extending beyond. the neighborhood is designated as a low-rise residential zone and is crowded with two to three-story houses. while the volume of the A-1 house is buried among its neighbors, the top floor peers above crowded rooftops, offering the resident a view over the entire neighborhood.

akio nakasa naf setagaya
photos by toshiyuki yano

 

 

akio nakasa of naf architect & design located the residence of the owner on the topmost floor above the first and second floors which are divided into four volumes. these volumes are programmed as an apartment to rent, the office of the owner, a guest room, and a porch with storage. in plan these volumes are organized in a row with interstitial circulatory ‘grey zones’. meanwhile, a structural system of angle braces provides support to the narrow space without bearing walls which would block the view. when seen from the interior, the exposed angle braces reveal the wood construction of the house.

akio nakasa naf setagaya

 

 

residential development had begun in this district in the early 20th century when plots were large enough to offer each family a large house with a yard. over time, large houses were gradually demolished and plots were continually subdivided. as the neighborhood became increasingly dense, the relationships between houses became delicate. individual ownership was commonly split and spaces between each house became circulatory. with this neighborhood dynamic in mind, the studio aimed to maximize and utilize exterior interspace.

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