ON design: yokohama apartment ON design: yokohama apartment
jul 21, 2011

ON design: yokohama apartment

japanese architecture practice ON design partners has sent us images of ‘yokohama apartment’, a two-storey residential complex for young artists in kanagawa, japan. located in an area populated with wooden houses and narrow roads, the design elevates the living units to sit above a semi public courtyard which serves as a multifunctional place for exhibitions, work, and socializing.

view from the passing street
image © koichi torimura (also main image)



conceived as the main communal space, the courtyard is loosely defined by four, triangular volumes that pinwheel around the center. an outdoor kitchen complete with a sink and stove allows the inhabitants to congregate in this area for a variety of functions. a washroom and storage closets are accommodated  at the ground level of the four pillars, ensuring efficient organization of the second storey. access to the elevated living space above is gained by a series of exterior staircases that wrap around the courtyard. the landings serve as small outdoor terraces that provide visual connection to both the street and communal area below.

view of communal courtyard
image © koichi torimura



the hovering living spaces are divided as four ‘huts’, each with a private bathroom and kitchenette. the make-up and organization of these units maximizes on the individual’s privacy. a strip of outdoor space lines half the perimeter of the floor to provide additional terraces for the inhabitants. while the courtyard is exceptionally open to the street, the house as a whole maintains its privacy through careful negotiation of space. 

from exterior staircase
image © koichi torimura

view of street from courtyard
image © koichi torimura

interior view of ”hut”
image © koichi torimura

living space
image © koichi torimura

outdoor terrace
image © koichi torimura

exterior staircase
image © koichi torimura

in context
image © koichi torimura

plan sketch

sectional sketch



project info:


architect: nishida osamu + nakagawa erika / ON design
site area: 140.61 m2
building area: 83.44 m2
total floor area: 152.05 m2

  • very interesting house concept

    73553 says:
  • This is a great concept. I love the covered inner courtyard! The perfect habitants meeting place.

    Konstanze Deutschland says:
  • Really nice!!! natural ventilation in the ground floor must be excellent

    GIARQ says:
  • I hope they have a great relationship with the neighbor, you can not hide from them!

    The Next Door Neighbor says:
  • Be still, my heart.

    morality says:
  • Lovely, clean, fresh, open!

    yarina says:
  • Nice skteches. they depicted the whole story of the house

    peppy says:
  • This is wonderful.
    Full of wonder and why not.

    Constructural Realism - Maui says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news