studio visit: inside the office of ryue nishizawa
studio visit: inside the office of ryue nishizawa studio visit: inside the office of ryue nishizawa
jan 16, 2011

studio visit: inside the office of ryue nishizawa


while the designboom team was in tokyo, we visited the office of ryue nishizawa, one half of the pritzker prize-winning practice, SANAA. located in a gutted out warehouse in the tatsumi area of the capital city, the building houses both SANAA and nishizawa’s studios under one roof. the no bells-and-whistles space is essentially one linear stretch of work stations, partitioned only by free-standing shelving which are filled with books and publications.


the open layout of the work space facilitates and encourages easy communication. towards the back of the studio is a corner for model making and a small meeting area. fronted by large sliding glass doors, the interior benefits from natural daylighting. a floating deck off the back leads out straight on to the tokyo bay, offering an escape from the urban mass of the city.

model of ‘moriyama house’ presented at the 2010 venice architecture biennaleimage © designboom (main image courtesy office of ryue nishizawa)



a collection of ryue nishizawa’s previous and recent projects: ‘moriyama house’ a cluster of ten small buildings, the design divides one volume into a collection of independent units connected only by a garden way. the owner has great freedom with the house, living in one and renting the rest which results in a small community in the middle of tokyo.

exterior of ‘moriyama house’ (2005) in tokyo, japan image © turezure

garden space image © turezure



‘teshima art museum’ hugging a hilly site on the island of teshima, the museum resembles a droplet of water caught in the middle of gliding across the land. two large elliptical openings define and orient the space while letting the interior collect pieces of the elements: pools of water accumulate on the floor and freely shift and migrate according to the breeze’s direction.

the ‘teshima art museum’ (2010) by ryue nishizawa in collaboration with japanese artist rei naito image © iwan baan

interior of the museum

the firm’s newest publication image © designboom



‘house a’ located on a narrow site, the client had requested a design that would allow for entertaining guests. aiming to create spaces that generated a social atmosphere, each room retains the character of a living room. distributed along the site as blocks, the volumes are shifted to establish a fragmented edge, allowing natural light to enter each space.

‘house a’ (2010) in tokyo, japan image courtesy office of ryue nishizawa

interior view image courtesy office of ryue nishizawa

image courtesy office of ryue nishizawa

exterior views images courtesy office of ryue nishizawa



‘towada art center’ comprised of an arrangement of open faced white volumes, the design is the centerpiece of the towada arts project, an initiative to convert the city’s main road into a dynamic space for art and culture.

‘towada art center’ (2008) by ryue nishizawa in towada city, aomori prefecture image © turezure

exterior faces of the center image © turezure

back of the office looking out on to the tokyo bay image © designboom

deck space image © designboom


  • This looks like a beautiful place for work indeed and I find it extremely satisfying at how the interior of the office space is a reflection of their style of architecture. … plus, who could resist a chill out on that deck. Awesome 🙂

    Xhon says:
  • @Xhon It really seems a beautiful place for work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week…

    youth says:
  • The bay view is the best thing about that office.
    Love the dock, and the little patch of green.

    namhenderson says:
  • not to mention terrible transportation connection and far from a supermarket. so you only have 4 hours per day to get home, prepare a packed meal and sleep before you return to the office.

    kazuyo says:
  • @ youth:
    lmao youre so rediculous. 20 hours a day. sure.

    dumpster says:
  • ‘V’ chair! It looks comfortable!

    coolh22 says:
  • what I would do is chill on that deck and smoke a big phat j, like everyday

    star says:
  • morning glory with me mate conex on that deck!

    rsno says:
  • @ dumpster:

    lmao you’re the one who is so ridiculous. Obviously you’ve never had any experience at high-profile offices, especially in Japan. I can guarantee you that working at SANAA is 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Kuma, Ito, Fujimoto, Ishigami, etc., all have grueling work schedules. It’s a different culture, different priorities, different process, way of thinking, etc.

    vogt says:

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