Shift by Apollo Architects & Associates


Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Japanese studio Apollo Architects & Associates have completed a house in Tokyo, Japan, featuring a white rendered volume sitting on top of a concrete base and no exterior windows.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Called Shift, the house has been built around a central courtyard where glazed walls provide views into all of the interior spaces on both floors.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

On the ground floor, the living room and kitchen are located on either side of the courtyard.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

There are three bedrooms on the first floor, each with their own balcony and little garden.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Also on this floor is a yoga room, bathroom and workroom, all of which have views of the internal courtyard.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Photographs are by Masao Nishikawa.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

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Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

The information that follows is from the architects:


Surrounding the site in the outskirts of Tokyo is lush green and a slow-paced environment. The building was commissioned by a family composed of the husband who manages an insurance company, the wife who works as a patternmaker and their two children. It was planned as a SOHO, with a space for the yoga classes run by the wife added to the house.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

The distinguishing exterior consists of a wooden volume covered with a luminescent wall sitting on top of a base made of exposed concrete engrained with the texture of Japanese cedar. In sharp contrast to the exterior that is closed to the outside world, an inner courtyard pierces the center of the structure.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

With a hollow center, the house is easy walk around and allows for the presence of family members to be felt from anywhere. The symbolic tree in the courtyard plays a central role in sustaining the equilibrium of the architecture.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

On the ground floor, the living room and dining kitchen face each other across the courtyard while a sculptural staircase is positioned across the courtyard from the entrance. The staircase is symbolic in its presence and gives expansiveness to the spaces together with the courtyard.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

On the first floor, the multi-purpose room is used for yoga classes and for other activities, while small gardens are positioned around bedrooms providing light and openings.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Incorporating an open-air garden within it, the house makes it possible to fully enjoy the Japanese four seasons. The contrast between the external and the internal will help to keep a fresh mind in everyday life.

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Credit Information
Architecture : Satoshi Kurosaki/APOLLO Architects & Associates

Project Outline
Location : Tokyo
Date of Completion : April 2010
Principal Use : Private House
Structure : RC/1F,Wooden/2F
Site Area: 257.54m2

Shift by Apollo Architects and Associates

Click for larger image

Total Floor Area : 180.20m2 (99.37m2/1F, 80.83m2/2F)
Design Period : March 2009 – July 2009
Construction Period : October 2009 - April 2010
Structural Engineer : Kenta Masaki
Mechanical Engineer :-

Material Information
Exterior Finish : Exposed concrete/1F, photocatalytic paint/2F
Floor : Flooring
Wall : photocatalytic paint
Ceiling : cloth

See also:


Damier by Apollo
Architects & Associates
Flow by Apollo
Architects & Associates
More architecture
on Dezeen

Posted on Friday December 24th 2010 at 12:44 am by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Onelab_NL

    Typical Japanese inside-outside/introvert-extrovert concept. For someone living in the Netherlands I cannot understand how japanese can live without windows looking out on the streets. Good detailing and nice, simple materialisation.
    The rooms still look a little small on the photo's. What I really can't understand:
    why 3 bedrooms on the firstfloor but the bathroom on the groundfloor!!?? If your bedroom is above the entrace you have to walk along the courtyard, down the stairs, back through the livingroom into the bathroom. Would never be my option and I would also never recommended to my customers.

    • A great house indeed in my opinion. It must be difficult to imagine living without windows in the Netherlands, I understand, but Japanese people have a reverse approach to what is private and what is openede to the world. For them it must be difficult to understand how people can live with no courtains on their windows… This on average, not always like this of course.
      Same for the bathroom, which is a very important room for japanese people, so it is normally placed on the ground floor. The upstairs is for the bedrooms only (plus a little water-closed sometimes), downstairs is for all other "main" purposes, including having a bath. Actually, from this point of view, to take a bath has nothing to do with sleeping. It makes sense. Anyway, from an european point of view, I agree, it must sound very weird indeed.

  • Bentham

    They don't often bath themselves (^o^)/~

  • jikiu

    ordinary Japanese people live with views on the street. These exceptional houses are owned by the arrogant rich people stressing their exceptional taste in design

  • stillunwritten

    I found it very interesting idea of closeness.Very absurd when you compare traditional façades.But it has a certain quality of 'private life'.I can prefer such kind of a design.And exterior lighting is very successfull.

  • I agree with jikiu, this is an exceptional house, not built for ordinary people, and this is what you see on 99.9% of the houses you find on an architectural review or website. I am sure the owner is rich, definetly. Maybe he is also arrogant, but this is not the point. Apart from this it is an interesting building.

  • lucho

    well, design approaches like these are becoming common. not cliche yet but already common.

  • Debashis

    I like the design … however I wonder why they did not make the courtyard useful, perhaps an outdoor dining area or fireplace. I would expect at least a balcony on the upper level overlooking the lower level.

  • I really like the design. Its understated but the interior is minamilist to a degree. It reminds me of the some of the newer container houses. Who cares if someone is rich an arrogant lol isnt that the point of being rich.

  • Courtyard brings an element of nature and beauty in the house.

  • Yongma Land

    I hate windows. I love my privacy.