frontofficetokyo fuses mies, gehry and nishizawa in a tower made of 9 best houses of modernity

frontofficetokyo fuses mies, gehry and nishizawa in a tower made of 9 best houses of modernity

when it comes to making homes, we have a sense of what is possible through repetition — small, rational boxes, stacked in clever ways, can give enough variety. but intuitively more is possible. what if we started with exceptional quality, without dropping the limitation on space? what is a better source to test this idea than the best homes in recent history? these are the questions frontofficetokyo referred to while designing their unique project that combines 9 best houses of modern architecture.

gehry on top



when we imagine a city like tokyo or hong kong and declare that space is at a premium, what we really mean is that floor area is a commodity, and we need to conserve it. this is a rational position — the statement fits well with any strategy of maximization, whether the focus is on the economic return or improved functionality. from this point of view the concept of poetic compact housing, the ‘existenz minimum’ of early modernists, makes perfect sense. layering transformable functions inside ever smaller spaces is entirely sensible. but the market is not rational. it declares that more rooms and more features equal more quality, a notion quickly dispelled by actual life in a shoe-box home.

ground floor is a semi-public space



the idea of quality needs to be revisited and as the prospect of mass customization comes closer to reality, the number of directions to explore are multiplying rather than converging. what if we started from the opposite direction, and considered housing that aims at living well, living big? how do we even begin to deal with that contradiction? to test this idea, frontofficetokyo designed a tower made from 9 of the best houses (and one pavilion) from the last hundred years of architectural history. it has a footprint of 50 sqm, because the architects could only take that much from each house.

modernity is grounded in a kind of exhibitionism



‘what if we look not at the limits of what fits into a regular 50 sqm area, but instead examine how much quality can be accommodated in the same small space’, the team explains the idea. ‘at the very least we can learn what 50 sqm really means, architecturally speaking. how much space is needed to make an exceptional design anyway?’ the architects highlight three points, which — as they assume — are the basis of modernism: some of the best houses in the world are very small; cutting a masterpiece into pieces does not diminish its power; the works in the tower are visually diverse but all share an ambiguous approach to boundaries.

phillip johnson always loved to give parties


ray and charles eames were most comfortable with the top bunk


tower in context


50 sqm of the barcelona pavilion is a beautiful open space with a pool


50 sqm of falling water equals a corner bedroom and a piece of deck


50 sqm of glass house equals half a glass house


50 sqm of gehry house equals a kitchen with a skylight


50 sqm of the garden and house is two floors of the four-story house


project info:


architects: frontofficetokyo


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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