hideaki takayanagi: life in spiral
hideaki takayanagi: life in spiral hideaki takayanagi: life in spiral
jul 09, 2012

hideaki takayanagi: life in spiral

‘life in spiral’ by hideaki takayanagi, tokyo, japan all images courtesy of hideaki takayanagi

‘life in spiral’, a dwelling by tokyo-based practice hideaki takayanagi, explores the concept of opening and closing towards the city of tokyo, japan. a narrow site dictated a four-storey dwelling, introducing a 3-dimensional engawa in the form of a ribbon which winds its way through the centralized vertical circulation, also creating perimeter rooms along the glazed facade. providing shade throughout the interior, the angled partial wall defines and separates the rooms while allowing daylight to enter.

stackable vertical shutters along the perimeter glass offer privacy to inhabitants as desired, allowing either a transparent window or a screened wall to exist, producing a serendipitous relationship with daily activity within the home and inward views from passersby.

street elevation

aerial view

aerial view of roof

(left) ground level study (right) first floor dining room

kitchen + dining

floor to ceiling window opens to outdoors while a glass panel protects inhabitants from falling

view of dining + living area from kitchen

living area

(left) stairs (right) bathroom on second level


master bathroom


view into the ground level study

spiraling stairway


model of interior program

model detail

study model

site plan

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level 1

floor plan / level 2

floor plan / level -1

roof plan


spiral detail

wall section detail

project info:

project name: life in spiral location: tokyo, jpn plot size: 50.0sq. meter built area: 29.8sq. meter total floor area: 109sq. meter

  • What do you do when you have female occupants who like to wear skirts? Tell them to stay 5 ft away from the perimeter? I love the natural lighting but can\’t understand why owners would want to live in a fishbowl in the middle of a city.

    Kadeshi says:
  • I agree with “Kadeshi”. How can someone stand to live on display in the middle of the city.

    Erik says:
  • it must be a public house .

    joris says:
  • Talk about living in a glass house! Otherwise the modern design is cool.

    Olivia says:
  • Looks like there are blinds in all the windows . . . thus you don’t have to be “on display”

    Their play with space and color in the master bathroom is wonderful.

    Jess. says:
  • Shades, shades everywhere!!!

    Rodion says:
  • Well done!

    moi says:
  • great! the spaces are so different and so exiting.
    I want to call the house, “mies in tokyo”.
    Thanks for good work!

    zeronergy says:
  • I could cry at the failure of this piece…given all the money, all the effort, all the obvious skill and passion of its making, and all the unresolved challenges. It\’s author totally lost sight of the site, and became obsessed with a conception that, in the end, failed on it\’s own terms…the deceit (and conceit) of the spiral circulation.
    I keep looking for the lesson of this piece, the real payoff we designers take away after all the energy and cost of construction is spent, and we sit quietly trying to \”see\” clearly what we have really created…and why. Oh, for that courage Mr. Takayanagi. Perhaps the lesson was to have reflected upon other works, also challenged by somewhat similar circumstance, in order to truly analyze the site…i.e. Curutchet House – Le corbusier, Austrian Cultural Forum – Raimund Abraham

    Chaszr says:
  • What a wonderfully elegant building. Despite the widely white interior and vast expanses of glass it is surprising it does not look more impersonal; on the contrary, it appears very clean and calm. The idea of the ribbon staircase must create a lovely flow to the spaces.

    Solidspace says:
  • This is brilliant. Elegant and I love the simplicity of the exterior form.

    rcvs1 says:
  • Japanese habitually look away from other people’s privacy because of the strong self-control. That is, the more they open their house, the more they get free from other people’s view.

    samu says:
  • This place is one of a kind, could be as private as you may like, clean lines everywhere, strategically built to conceal the master bathroom, the only thing i could call ”wasted space” is the roof, they could have built a really nice garden to relax.

    LEX V. says:
  • in the future when the majority of houses will be like this one , you sayers of “how can somebody live like this” , “it is like a puplic display” , etc , will be recalled by us as the backward minded ones in the history. Be sure about that.
    Congratulations to the architect’s team

    raymond says:
  • Does Designboom feature any architecture other than Japanese? OMG. Enough all ready. We get it. Japanese lines are clean and crisp and might I add, BORING!

    v says:

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