Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects


Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Architectural photographer Edmund Sumner has sent us his images of Tokyo Apartment by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, four house-shaped apartments stacked on top of each other. Update: this project is included in Dezeen Book of Ideas, which is on sale now for £12.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Each apartment comprises two or three rooms connected over different levels by ladders and stairs both inside and outside the building.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

More about Edmund Sumner’s photographs on Dezeen:

The House with Balls by Matharoo Associate (August 2010)
New Architecture in Japan (March 2010)
The Delhi Art Gallery by Morphogenesis (December 2009)
Pearl Academy of Fashion by Morphogenesis (September 2009)
Takasugi-an by Terunobu Fujimori (March 2009)
Yakisugi House by Terunobu Fujimori (March 2009)
Colour Factory by Dan Brill Architects (February 2009)
Outside the Box (June 2008)
Kait Workshop by Junya Ishigami Architects (May 2008)
Gravesend public toilets by Plastik Architects (January 2008)
Boiler Suit by Thomas Heatherwick (August 2007)

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Here's more form the architects:

Tokyo Apartment Tokyo, Japan

Collective housing built in the residential section of the center of Tokyo.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

It consists of four dwelling units including owner's dwelling unit.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Each dwelling unit is made with two or three independent rooms of prototypical "house" shapes.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

And the two rooms exist, separated like combination of the room of the first floor, and the room of the third floor and they are connected by outside stairs.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

That is, it can be said that each dwelling unit is realized by experience of two rooms and the city when passing along outside stairs.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

When you go up outside stairs, you will have experience that it is a wonder climbing a big mountain such as a city.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

It seems that you have your own house in the foot and summit of a mountain, respectively.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

And by the act which rises and gets down the mountain, mountain = the whole city will be experienced as its own house.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

This collective housing is the miniature of Tokyo.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

"Tokyo which never exists" is made into a form.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

I meant making an infinite rich place which is crowded and disorderly.

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Click for larger image

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Click for larger image

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Click for larger image

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

Click for larger image

Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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Tokyo Apartment by Sou Fujimoto Architects

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See also:


Ivy house by
Hiroyuki Miyabe
Apartment in Kamitakada
by Takeshi Yamagata
More photography

Dezeen Book of Ideas out now!

Sou Fujimoto Architects is included in our book, Dezeen Book of Ideas. Buy it now for just £12.

Posted on Tuesday October 5th 2010 at 12:41 am by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Mac

    A lovely small Vitra House :)

  • looks great …That stairway is amazing.

  • micky

    not Herzog ?

    • LM1

      While the forms are similar these are hugely different projects. The achievement of Fujimotos is in what it represents-life and a way of living. It is the external circulation that really does it for me….the spaces between spaces.
      Check out his "House Before House"….with some similar ideas.

      • Andrea

        Hi LM1. Could you please point me in the direction of “House Before House”? I can’t find it! Also, do you know if Fujimoto’s was done prior to the VitraHaus? Thanks!

  • orenin

    sigh…like a breath of fresh cool air in the bland desert of contemporary architecture…

  • mmm

    Sou Fujimoto is one of the most fresh architects around at the moment. And this must be one of his worst buildings.

    • ssd

      i have to agree

  • OPA

    japanese clients are really weird :-)

  • oxo

    Vitra house by Herzog & DeMeuron is better :)

  • antonius

    I like it. And so much better than this H&dM showroom at Vitra. Could even be more colourful. But that's maybe to much in Japan

  • Hope not to twist my ankle while living there, it'd be a challenge climbing that stairs! BTW, too much wire in Tokio, uh?

    • stevereloaded

      japan is a country of frequent earthquake. NOT keeping these wires underground makes it easier for the repair work after each earthquakes.

  • space

    All I see is just a lot of waste of space

  • arjun

    this looks very interesting but it must be a nightmare to live in. i appreciate the playfulness but at some point it must feel like one of those playground ladder assemblies. i guess if the clients like crawling around their house then it works just fine.
    the ideas are wonderful and i can see the logic behind the aggregations and transitions but that does not make it practical.
    nice detailing though

  • marcos

    why everyone is comparing this project with vitra house?
    vitra house looks like an house but is not… is a commercial program, looking like a house scaled up and faking a real house. As a commercial program is great!
    this is a real house. and as a house is great!

  • jaume

    herzog also can copy

  • rob

    haha they really have gone mad now..

  • It is unusual but I like it! I love the proportions and the lines generated by the structure.

  • Wow, cool architecture! Love this men and his N House in Japan.

  • andrew


  • yuki

    please have a look at pictures 12-5 here:

    would you like to live like this? then again, maybe this is an apartment building for contortionists…

    this is a nice idea, a japanese fantasy both fujimoto and the (japanese if i am not mistaken) project leader at herzog and de meuron shared. i am afraid it worked better for h+dm; partly because the project was bigger and detached, thus they had the "privilege" of appropriate and proportionate circulation space. not to mention the budget and experienced engineering consultants that are needed for realizing this thing in a seismic country.

    maybe fujimoto-san ought to stick to his book labyrinths

  • plopp

    I love it when architects goes wild, looks great, but living in it would drive me crazy!

  • the craftsmanship is what always amazes me in the japanese posts, so precise, and their simple way of looking at things

  • Eduardo

    from inside is lovely, but from the outside is quite ugly and depressing!!!

  • auste

    i guess relationship status of this house would be “complicated”

    though i like an idea and its really cute looking;)

  • Flying Dutchman

    In Norway we would call that – "moelvenbrakke extravaganza"

    But still cool!

  • Medusa

    Although it is easy to understand the appeal of the stacked little houses concept and forcing the user to go outside to get inside… it is quite questionable building it… why would you like to live there? the actual result, not as an idea or a piece of conceptual art but as architecture is forced in many different respects… structurally, funcionally, spatially… at least in H&dM you can't see how the trick is made…
    Fascinating… but is it a good house??
    Other Fujimoto's houses and projects have got closer to a happier marriage between radical ideas and built reality…
    Maybe we just shouldn't try to reinvent the wheel every Tuesday morning…

  • it's a Habitrail for humans! i want one in my backyard

  • astro

    There's nothing wild here. It's POMO collage. If each roofs were really accessible, then you could call it NEW architecture, but obviously it's just another fashionable collage coming from Japan.

  • iko

    Well…I have seen both Vitra and this one…and Vitra is by far the better space…conceptually this project of Sou Fujimoto is stronger and makes much more sense cos it's a house and the concept was born long time ago and it was widely published, but just realized recently…in this sense H&deM copied it from Fujimoto, but they did it in a very good way! As for those Japanese house…I have lived in Japan for 8 years and I have to say that you are freezing at winter and sweeting in summer, also impossible to have normal Western lifestyle…but the Japanese love them,and they are not a weird piece of architecture….they are just good architecture targeted for a society which is culturally different…Fujimoto has better project,this was in the sketch book for a long time and its obvious he was not mature enough at that time!

  • lye

    just don't like the way window is blocked with the slanted structure.

  • Coffee

    Unconvincing, the text talks about all these rich and wonderful experiences that will come about precisely because of the stacking of house shaped rooms? How is the experience different from being in a duplex apartment? From within the rooms are rooms like in any other apartment building, the exterior form has little effect other than the fun-for-about-one-day circulation.

    This office's output was quite interesting before, but seems to have trailed off into making novelty architecture.

  • ambrosiuswagner

    Sou Fujimoto did this project before vitrahaus from Herzog and De Meuron.

  • JaH

    only Japanese would finance and live in this kind of house or better say caricature of a house… interesting and daring, but is it really necessary.

  • The only way they could make it more dangerous to actually live in would be by putting in hidden, spring loaded trap doors on each floor. Dang, given their fondness for architectural death traps, I've probably just given a Japanese architect an idea.

  • Sara

    "I meant making an infinite rich place which is crowded and disorderly" Achieved.

    The mess of cables in front of the house is the perfect cherry on top of all this little houses. I would feel like a hamster living here.

  • doodle

    Crowded, disorderly and DANGEROUS…

  • Zino

    Part of me loves this house, but it’s a very tiny part that has already been sent away for reeducation.

  • eastmeetscrass

    Truly wonderful and amazing to examine years ago as a cute model but the craft, detailing and spatial resolution falls flat upon closer inspection. I think the premise of this concept house is that it should be at least 20% larger to avoid the pitfalls of structure and construction. Why provide a window and pothole with a diagonal brace sliced through? And why those odd corner columns when the volume could be cantilevered within a deep beam? Should the rain come, can the gutters (or lack of) hold up? Finally a ladder that switches sides? Mind boggling to live in this building.

  • xiemin

    though creative, but, kind of weird. it can be more natural and comfortable

  • Sou Fujimoto, Conference Primitive Future @ ETSAM


    mstrpln blog:

  • A great little project.

  • nice idea but for house basic is nightmare

  • claude

    another cat house!

  • Serge

    An impractical house that WILL inspire others to think outside the box and design non-cookie-cutter architecture! Thanks Mr Fujimoto!