NE apartment by Yuji Nakae, Akiyoshi Takagi and Hirofumi Ohno



Japanese architects Yuji Nakae, Akiyoshi Takagi and Hirofumi Ohno have collaborated on NE apartments, a block of eight apartments for motorcycle enthusiasts in Tokyo.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi


The C-shaped apartment block features a circular courtyard that allows residents to rotate their motorbikes.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

Here's some info from the architects:


NE apartment

This 8-unit rental apartment house complex was designed to house motorcycle enthusiasts, with a built-in garage included in every unit.
The building is located on a flag-shaped plot near the apex of a triangular block, with a certain degree of open space toward the main road to the south.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

The c-shaped design was a practical decision to allow the residents to access their apartments through a common alley that leads right to the center of the complex.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

The wall on the entrance side was curved to provide maximum space on the outside, while guaranteeing sufficient volume for each apartment unit and wall length to fit 8 entrance doors.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

The resulting little square avoids giving the impression of a narrow and dark dead end, and allows the residents to rotate their bikes easily.


The walls separating each apartment unit were disposed in a radial pattern, each with a gentle curve that leads them to meet the external wall at a right angle. By connecting the angles of each room, the curved walls contribute to give the impression of a more spacious environment.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

The entire structure is designed as an extension of the road, smoothly following the movement of its residents as they drive through the alley, enter the central square, park their motorcycle in the garage and move upstairs to their living quarters.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

About the use of curved walls

The building is a reinforced concrete structure composed of seven walls and a slab. The main characteristic of the structure lies in the fact that the reinforced walls, composed of an in-plane rigid frame of columns and beams, were disposed in a radial pattern. The walls rely on the transfer of horizontal force from the slabs instead of using perpendicular beams.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

They are in fact vertical cantilevers fixed in the foundation of the building. Although the centrally-oriented radial displacement is vulnerable to rotational forces, the changing angles of each wall reinforce the structure’s resistance.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

Because the structure of the building relies on the seven interior walls, the exterior wall was handled using a dry construction method. This allowed us to continue studying the emplacement and size of the wall openings in accordance with the uneven surroundings until the very last moment of the construction process.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

The functions of each wall are also enhanced by a clear division of their roles: structure and sound insulation for the interior walls, openings and thermal insulation for the exterior walls.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

Despite their curve, the interior walls always meet the outside wall at right angles, preventing the presence of sharp corners and thus improving livability.


Above photograph © Hiroyasu Sakaguchi

On the entrance side, each floor is fitted with a continuous strip of curved windows, with a comparatively wider opening on the second level. The orientation of each room was set to avoid a direct view of the opposite apartment. Combined with a double-paned window, this setting provides a peculiar feeling of privacy.


Posted on Thursday April 3rd 2008 at 12:33 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • jed

    what an absolute STUNNER of a building. i love the model too – so cute! the windows of each apartment are crazily close to the neighbours apartments so you would have to be a certain type to live in it but i dare say it would foster a great sense of community.

    “a block of eight apartments for motorcycle enthusiasts”

    the very idea fills me with joy.

    • Jack

      You missed this in the post "The orientation of each room was set to avoid a direct view of the opposite apartment. Combined with a double-paned window, this setting provides a peculiar feeling of privacy."

  • federico testa

    Very interesting proposal, and although the space seems quite introverted the curves make it incredibly cozy!well done!

  • yves

    cool, i wanna take a better look at that maquette.

  • manifesto_ry

    A genius solution to an extremely tight site. The central curved courtyard does provide a sensible and practical spatial relief.

    It is quite an amazing task of having to accommodate 8 residential units in this little development and in my opinion, the architects have cleverly eliminated the feel of congestion by having the entrances lined along a sensous curved wall. It exudes a sense of mystery and invites one to explore deeper into the courtyard.

    Though the inner partition walls could have acted as shear wall structures, I would have preferred an open plan design that will further free the inner space and evoke a greater sense of interior spatiousness.

    But it is still a very well thought out and executed scheme.

  • kumakuma

    Big Ups to Nakae, Takagi, and Ohno.

    Love this project.

  • mKK

    Nifty !

  • dude
    (as in the commercial)
    flawless glass
    nice models/shapes
    only don’t like the spackle gray walls

  • while my comment remains in moderation….
    may i recommend the stellar execution
    Japan Knows How To Build

  • marco

    I would not to live there … I think i’ll get crazy … small and gloomy spaces …

  • Lone

    Some great lines and areas, but I dont think the pictures do it justice. Feels like a place you need to walk through to experience the different spaces.

    On the flip side all of the concrete surfaces come across as something like new soviet bloc style public housing. Communist Bladerunner, with hovering ‘monitor’ displays, covered in drying clothes, smoked by traffic.

  • jed

    i do kind of wonder about the apartment on the front-right corner of the model though. there doesn’t really seem to be any space to do anything in it!

  • kookenhaken


  • togon

    nice, but the lighting/material usage gives me the feeling of loneliness, especially without any kind of garden.

  • fanciulla

    No, no, no. Where are the NURBS stuff? Don’t tell me that is possible to make a nice project without curved-liquid-fluorescent-sinuous-ridiculous forms….

  • K. Rimane

    interesting, there’s something i dislike. the space is difficult and the rooms appear to be dark. it’ll be quite a challenge to furnish such place. doing it wrong would just make the place seem terribly small.

  • Franky

    Amazing stuff – very tight though..

  • wahhton

    indeed nice project.

  • wahhton

    but could you imagine the noice of them bikes entering that little yard at 3 o’clock in the morning? good thing that there will be only livng bike nerds.

  • charles

    Jesus, this house is amazing………………
    I dont know what to say

  • poster

    best ARCHITECTURE work in a long time here in dezeen. At least, is built, and it is different, not being crazy-Rhino-maya rendered….
    i want to see more of them!

  • faiyaz

    I wonder if the sound of the motorcycles will lower the adjacent property value.. I hate loud bikes, and the people that drive them, however the house is nice.

  • krhettn

    Oh neat, it looks like a cool urban motorcycle Villa Savoye. I think that was designed for a car to go in.

  • ales

    GREAT! very kosher house

  • I am glad someone (wahhton) mentioned it.. just imagine the noise resonating and echoing in that place from the bikes!! it would be crazy! i do like the experimental lines and the creation of community but i dont think it is for me.. nevertheless.. interesting find and glad to have seen it

  • Isabella Clark

    I know some boys on bikes and they can determine exactly when to cut the engine and glide home soundlessly.
    As Americans with all our stuff, it is hard to see the interior space “decorated.” But look at any book with high style Japanese space and you’ll see how it is done. Very cool building.

  • yw

    Very nice, I love the spatial quality and the curves, beautiful execution. Would like to see more such projects on Dezeen!

  • John Jobs

    Hopefully most of the people living there will be home before too late, those curved walls would bounce the sounds right into your head

  • MRM

    I’m sure fellow bikers would walk it in the curved area!! When I lived with my folks I snuck in late many a time. Kill motor / glide / turn off lights / walk. As long as there’s no incline you’re golden.

  • joe

    what has changed since villa savoye?


  • Pete

    Very imaginative! I believe this woould work for college campuses too. I know I’d love to live in a dormitory/house like this.

  • Mac

    Apartments in Japan are generally quite small by American standards. They have done a nice job of solving the parking problem.

  • Maria

    Wahhton, of course the motorcyclists would not drive their bikes in with the engine on. (they would not want the fumes either to eventually penetrate their own apartments. In any case I just cannot imagine they would do that on principle.)

    Love it! I have dreamed of a place like this, and the lack of ability to bring a motorized bike “inside” the way I can my bicycle has kept me from buying a scooter in my city.

  • Nice!! This is so tomorrow. A few potted greens should lighten this place up.

  • Creedence

    What a lovely place
    My Honda would be at home
    Safe indoors with me

  • contemax

    this building is very very close to kazuyo sejima’s design of the okurayama apartments in yokohama, looks like a copy and past… or maybe it was just a very strong insiration. anyhow – better a good copy then a bad original

  • kali971


  • katie

    I am not sure why but I love absolutelly everything about this building. It’s interesting and funny! I like the whole idea! Nice job!

  • Dan

    +1 I only ride, don’t even own a car. I would love to live in such a place. I hope I get stationed in Japan soon =] Or I could build one here in San Antonio TX, USA…

  • very smart solution.

  • LB

    Maybe I’m simply not understanding the photos. But it looks like there is a toilet in the garage. What if you are using the toilet when your spouse returns from work and opens up those big doors? I’d also love to see one of these apartments inhabited to see how it would really function and how people would decorate spaces like this. The walls, which appear to be concrete, would make it difficult to put a picture on the wall.

  • Hein

    I think it is very nice to sit on the toilet, while being able to look at your motorbike. It is secretly every biker’s dream. Unless you ride a fake plastic chopper of course..

  • r.

    beautiful project, however from looking at the model and photos, it seem like each unit is 1/3 bathroom. interesting, but considering the limited amount of space, i wonder if this would be slightly frustrating in reality.

  • cacas

    this is fun! moto garage!! the curve is very well used!! this is dificult! nice to see a hard job made with fun!

  • Yen

    it’s a very cool and innovative idea… the curve, the spatial arrangement and the volume seen from the street is great! however, the walls make the spaces a bit gloomy…

  • javier rojas

    amazing! magnificent use of space, cozy feeling and great details. love the early 30's modern look.

  • Leonardo

    I love how you enter the building without even going through the door, just the embrace of the building is enough to make you feel inside…great!

  • Leif

    I would love to hear my bike in that courtyard…

  • SSS-er

    This is a COPY. This is a segment of Okurayama Apartments by Kazuyo Sejima made bigger and with different materials…