yuji tanabe la pa apartments
40 minutes from tokyo, the ‘la-pa’ apartment building by yuji tanabe embodies its site among vegetable gardens with a flower-like plan that allows central courtyard access. a wooden terrace on the second floor connects the homes in a semi-private/semi-public manner with the residential units stemming off, symbolic of a blossoming node surrounded by petals.


UPDATE: in 2017, yuji tanabe’s drawing of the apartment won the arup prize for emerging talent for architecture at the royal academy of arts’ 2017 summer exhibition. nigel tonks, arup’s leader of buildings, london, describes the project as follows: ‘among the entries from young and emerging practices, tanabe’s restrained drawing for flower apartment speaks closely to the curator’s aim of architecture as an instruction-based art. this elegant piece works as a drawing and a model, depicting boundaries and scale in an engaging way. tanabe’s approach to layering information authentically conveys a feeling of space in this simple apartment building.’
yuji tanabe la pa apartments
all images by kunihiko katsumata / courtesy of yuji tanabe



locals have even named la-pa, the ‘flower apartments’, and there is a plan to build two more similar complexes, making this housing a notable landmark in the community. the apartment is divided into eight flats which all take advantage of south facing light and are organized in various L-shaped floor plans that span two levels. the residences range between 32-42 sq meters, and promote free usability for owners by having two indistinguishable rooms branching from a centralizing simple kitchen.

yuji tanabe la pa apartments
‘la-pa’ is situated by garden beds and supplementary plantings will be made with leftover construction soil

yuji tanabe la pa apartments
two additional apartment buildings will surround ‘la-pa’ as a community space and will embody a similar floor plan

yuji tanabe la pa apartmentsoutdoor space is accessible on each floor by ribboned balconies

yuji tanabe la pa apartments
the second floor patio utilizes natural light

yuji tanabe la pa apartmentsinteriors of L-shaped rooms show flexibility of space

yuji tanabe la pa apartmentsdetail of the brushed metal kitchen unit which marks the division of space

yuji tanabe la pa apartments
each dwelling includes a private balcony

yuji tanabe la pa apartmentssimple hardwood flooring and white interiors display a non-decorative japanese minimalism

yuji tanabe arranges la-pa apartments with flower-like plan
yuji tanabe’s drawing of an apartment in japan’s chiba prefecture
image courtesy of yuji tanabe / royal academy of arts




project info:


architect firms: yuji tanabe and architects + building environment workshop
project leaders: yuji tanabe + sachie isakalocation
location: funabashi city, chiba prefecture, japan
use: rental apartment, eight dwelling units for dual and single (about 32-43 sqm each)
design team / structural design: jun sato structural design office
construction: abe kensetsu co., ltd.
site area: 387.8 sqm
building area: 163. 46 sqm
building coverage ratio: 42.15%
gross area: 259. 21sqm
floor area ratio: 66.84%  
structure system: wooden framework structure
period of design: march – june 2009
period of implementation design: july – august 2011
period of construction: august 2011 – march 2012
copyright of photos: kunihiko katsumata and yuji tanabe