‘WEP’ by niizeki studio in tokyo, japan all images courtesy niizeki studio image © masao nishikawa

japanese architecture practice niizeki studio (kenichiro niizeki) has shared with us images of ‘WEP (whole earth project)’, a two-storey residence and office in a dense area of tokyo, japan. a composition of three monolithic volumes,the design introvertly opens up to an elevated outdoor terrace.

niizeki studio: WEP street elevation image © masao nishikawa

sitting on a corner plot in an area that straddles the line between residential neighbourhoods and small business blocks, the unassuming exterior is devoid of windows or apertures, resulting in an ambiguous presence. more than 7000 blocks of concrete were utilized to create a highly textured finish to the elevations while providing a solid aesthetic to the house. a slim stairway inserted in the chasm between two volumes provides access to the private terrace area.

niizeki studio: WEP (left) staircase up to terrace (right) texture of concrete blocks images © masao nishikawa

the choice to construct with concrete blocks was largely driven by the desire to reduce material waste during construction as well as its compressive strength – about three to four times stronger than usual reinforced concrete. scaffolding is also unneeded due to the ease of stacking.

niizeki studio: WEP terrace space image © masaya yoshimura

oriented to face one another, the three volumes feature a large opening that spills on to the elevated outdoor terrace. the layout encourages a circulation pattern that incorporates the interior with the exterior. on the ground floor, a stretch of sliding glass doors close off the opening between forms while securing an abundant level of natural light.

niizeki studio: WEP openings with views of interior image © masao nishikawa

niizeki studio: WEP image © masaya yoshimura

niizeki studio: WEP view of japanese-style room from terrace image © masao nishikawa

niizeki studio: WEP ground floor image © masao nishikawa

niizeki studio: WEP image © masaya yoshimura

niizeki studio: WEP skylight image © masaya yoshimura

niizeki studio: WEP floor plan / level 0

niizeki studio: WEP floor plan / level +1