apollo architects thin vertical alley house frames tokyo skytree apollo architects thin vertical alley house frames tokyo skytree
sep 21, 2013

apollo architects thin vertical alley house frames tokyo skytree

apollo architects design vertical alley to frame tokyo skytree
image © masao nishikawa




a former client of japanese architecture firm apollo architects + associates commissioned a house for herself and her husband on a narrow site near tokyo skytree. the dwelling is located at the end of an ‘alley’ in a busy neighborhood of the japanese capital city. due to physical constraints of the site, a tall thin timber frame structure was chosen for the design. in order to blend with the context, a soft brown galvanized metal skin was chosen for the exterior.



the town-house style dwelling employs picture windows to enlarge interior spaces
image © masao nishikawa




large expanses of glass open the small spaces with ample daylight and extensive views of the cityscape. exposed wood joist ceilings add height to the living areas. an open stair also enforces the spacious feeling within the home, and allows illumination and visual connection throughout the dwelling. at night, the tower shines like a lighthouse.



exposed wood joist ceilings add height to the living areas
image © masao nishikawa




upon entering, one is presented with a small earthen-floor multipurpose area that can be used to greet guests, whose room is located on this level. the edge of the space transitions harmoniously into the rest of the house, as in traditional japanese residences. a slender corridor leads to the only bathroom in the building. upstairs, an open plan kitchen and dining area are separated by highly contrasting finishes and a slight change in elevation. the black kitchen cabinets, walls and plank floors open generously to the hori-gotatsu, or sunken area for sitting around a built-in table, which is finished in blonde tones. this arrangement allows the couple to cook together without ignoring friends and family. from the seating area everyone can enjoy views of the iconic tower for which the area is named.



the u-shaped kitchen allows the couple to hosting friends and family while cooking
image © masao nishikawa



the delicate stair allows ample light to penetrate the home
image © masao nishikawa



the hori-gotatsu, or sunken area for sitting around a built-in table
image © masao nishikawa




on the third floor the couple’s private bedroom opens to a large bonus room. here the smooth surfaces add definition to the architecure, and enclosing the indoor living space. the sculptural staircase is enclosed in glass on two sides and continues to the outdoor roof terrace. a large picture window frames tokyo skytree beyond.



bonus room on the third floor
image © masao nishikawa



at night the house glows like a lighthouse
image © masao nishikawa





project information
architecture : satoshi kurosaki/apollo architects & associates
photography : masao nishikawa
location : sumida ward, tokyo
date of completion : february 2013
principal use : private house
structure : timber

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