japanese firm tsukada architects has realized an employee dormitory for an electric construction company in tokyo. with the brief calling for a comfortable environment to accommodate mostly young workers, the designers have used concrete & steel to build a minimal, contemporary housing that promotes a sense of community among the occupants. 

doras house 1
the front façade – the surrounding area is inhabited by commercial/industrial buildings and multi-family dwellings 
all images by norihito yamauchi 



clad with extruded cement panels, the steel-frame dormitory by tsukada architects sits amidst a mixed-use area, combining residential and industrial projects. its simple volume was rationally determined based on cost, construction workload, and laws and regulations (including those for shadow limiting and fire-escape balconies).

doras house 2
the upward view from the front street



the ground floor has a common wet area for washing and a communal kitchen/dining area. this level is moderately sunken to afford privacy by vertically staggering the lines of sight between occupants and passersby, while modulating the building height low to fit amiably into the townscape (without being affected by shadow regulations).

doras house 3
the view from the street – the building height was modulated low to harmonize with the townscape



in order to house as many employees as possible, the solution was based on creating 7 m2 single rooms; the minimum size permitted by tokyo’s building/safety ordinance. the upper floors nest 10 such rooms with the ceilings composed of exposed beams and structural steel decks, adding a twist to the simple materiality of the building.

doras house 4
the side elevation – the sunken kitchen/dining window (atop the concrete foundation wall) vertically staggers the lines of sight between occupants and passersby



through openings, the overhead decks bring natural light in, while the matching balcony decks extend the occupants’ sense of space outward. furthermore, the thin steel exterior railings and airy stairs let light and breezes permeate. the result is a dwelling where a sense of space expands toward the outdoor scenery, capturing the dynamic surrounding environment. 

doras house 5
the transparent entrance door and the airy stairway let light permeate while creating an open atmosphere

doras house 6
the kitchen/dining area, where the ceiling steel decks amplify the natural light

doras house 7
the washstand area leading to the common shower room

doras house 8

doras house 9
the corridor along single rooms was finished with exposed structural beams

doras house 10
7-m2 single room

doras house 11
the twilight façade, where the filtered light welcomes occupants returning to their abode

doras house 12
view of a single room



project info:


name: dora’s house
architecture office: tsukada architects
location: tokyo, japan



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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom