This compact dwelling designed by the european-based Wiel Arets Architects is nestled within the dense expanse of Tokyo, in Nishi-Azabu—a neighborhood characterized by narrow streets and traditional low-rise houses—which borders a park heavily visited during the spring, when the city’s cherry trees begin to bloom. Its 136 sqm area consists of five horizontally divided spaces, each connected by a minuscule sculptural spiraling staircase that, given the footprint of the house, allows for loft-like spaces within its intimate confines. Oversized windows punctuate the house, each with two layers of glazing; one is transparent and one is of the same relief glass that wraps the façade. These oversized windows, with their dual layers of glazing, can be countlessly reconfigured, to regulate the interior flow of daylight.

Both the transparent and relief glass of the house’s windows slides on tracks, which extend to double the width of each, for unobstructed views. They also extend to the floor, to ensure that the house remains responsive to passing street life. When closed, they cloak the house within an iridescent texture. On the ground floor, one of these windows serves as the main entry, and slides open to reveal the kitchen. Each level has a different program: the lowermost consists of storage and technical spaces; the lower two bedrooms, permeated by daylight via sliver windows that span the full length of the house, at street level; the kitchen and dining room occupy the ground floor; the living room the first; and the uppermost a master suite, with a wooden ofuro.

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all images © JAN BITTER