Architects: Ryue Nishizawa     Photography: Iwan Baan     Construction Period:  2012     Location:  Tokyo, Japan

This building, in a highly dense district packed with high-rise condominiums and office buildings, is the new home to two women in the editorial business who wish to work and live in this historical environment. They specifically request to include an office, common living space, private room for each, a guest room, and a bathroom. I got an impression that it involves a program that is somewhere between an office, and a residence, or a dormitory. The site is an extremely small rectangle of 8×4 m. To the right, the left, and across the street are large buildings of over 30 m of height standing with no setback making the site much like a small dark valley surrounded by mountainous construction.

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Suspecting that a building with regular frame walls would result in narrowing the already narrow usable space of the site, I looked for a possibility to create a building with alternative method. My final decision of structure consisted of a vertical layer of horizontal slabs to create a building without walls. A garden and a room are distributed as a pair on each floor – every room, whether it is the living room, private room or the bathroom, has a garden of its own so that the residents may go outside to feel the breeze, read a book or cool off in the evening and enjoy an open environment in their daily life.

Each room is smaller than the slab allowing for freedom in determining the relationship between the room and the garden regardless of the floor level. The entirety is a wall-less transparent building designed to provide an environment with maximum sunlight despite the dark site conditions. A delight in life is felt as you ascend the light, well ventilated residence that is nestled in this exceptional location in the dense urban fabric.

Text provided by the architect.