A floating concrete façade featuring two round cuts wraps this residence recently designed by YSLA architects in Tokyo. Located in a crossing along Waseda street, in the city‘s popular Shinjuku neighborhood, the project was originally designed as a hotel but has been delivered as a residential building due to the impact COVID-19 has had on the Tokyo tourism business.
The facade was conceived as a concrete levitating sheet, which erases the boundaries between interior and exterior, public and private, and opens to the street intersection through two round cuts inviting people from every direction. due to the change of use, the ground floor was converted into a co-working space for the residents.
“We realized during the lockdown the convenience of this kind of spaces,” notes the Tokyo & Barcelona-based studio. “Especially in families with children ‘the lighthouse’ became then the expression of the new normality.”
The building was planned as a unique room per floor hotel, with an open plan developed around the doma (a space in traditional Japanese buildings associated with the daily use and the entrance points). This area, which offers a place for guests to gather, is surrounded by a raised floor that acts as a platform for quiet activities and night use.
The platform is designed as a shoeless space where futons can be placed at night according to the number of guests. The boundary between the doma and this space can be closed using light partitions, wooden blinds, or curtains. The flexibility of the space together with a plan which enhances the Covid-19 guidelines for ventilation, made possible a successful transformation into apartments.
Although the building was plan as a hotel the studio envisioned the importance of the interior-exterior spaces and designed the plan with two balconies per floor/room. In the new apartment layout one balcony is used for leisure and the other for ‘BOH’ purposes. These spaces become even more valuable in the middle of the Covid pandemic.
In addition, YSLA architects developed ‘miwa みわ’, a modular and flexible piece of furniture that can be assembled and used in various ways, resembling the shape of the lighthouse’ building in its form.