‘crystal brick II’ by atelier tekuto in tokyo, japan all images courtesy atelier tekuto image © toshihiro sobajima

‘crystal brick II’ by japanese architecture studio atelier tekuto (yasuhiro yamashita) is a multi-storey private dwelling in tokyo, japan, the fourth edition in the architect’s series of glass block projects. exploring one of le corbusier’s ‘five points of architecture’, the design utilizes a system of steel flat bars, glass blocks, and ALC panels to create a non-supporting ‘free facade’ which could be finished in a limitless pattern.

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II exterior view image © toshihiro sobajima

taking on a simple cubic form in the dense neighbourhood, the house gains a distinct aesthetic identity through a dynamic play of transparency (glass blocks) vs. opacity (autoclaved lightweight concrete panels). the bands of solid white ALC panels are read to be floating within the facade, blurring the proportions of the space within by visually slicing up the elevation. gaining vertical support through a system of steel flat bars and horizontal structure through the glass and lightweight concrete panels, the exterior can be organized into an unlimited number of faces.

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II interior view image © toshihiro sobajima

gaining a large level of natural daylight, the interior programs correspond with the layout of the glass blocks. the transparent bricks have been developed with nippon electric glass which enhances the material’s heat insulataion capacity as well as its noise barrier performance. at night the artificial light from within illuminates the facade in a graphic pattern.

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II entrance image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II (left) corner detail (right) staircase images © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II upper level image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II living space image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II towards kitchen image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II bathroom image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II roof level image © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II night views from street images © toshihiro sobajima

atelier tekuto: crystal brick II image © toshihiro sobajima