Yotsuya Tenera
by Key Operation

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Apartments in this raw concrete block in Tokyo by architects Key Operation feature indoor balconies that look over both the street and internal stairwells, so neighbours can see who's coming and going (+ slideshow).

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

The three storey block contains twelve apartments but has no corridors; instead, each wing of the L-shaped block has a skylit stairwell containing a galvanised steel staircase, which leads directly to the front door of each apartment.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

Named Yotsuya Tenera, the block is located in the dense neighbourhood of Yotsuya, where residential buildings are positioned amongst a number of historic temples and shrines.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

These apartments each have a different layout, which the architects explain as being either I, L, C, or T-shaped.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

Concrete walls are exposed on the inside of the building as well as the outside and are textured with the grain of their larch plywood formwork.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

The project was completed in 2010, but recently received an RIBA International Award.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

Another interesting project by the same Japanese architects is a house designed around the movements of the client’s pet cat.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

See more projects in Japan »

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

Photography is by  Toshihiro Sobajima.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

There's more text below from Key Operation:


Yotsuya Tenera

The project site is in Tokyo, Yotsuya is located in a quiet residential area right behind the Shinjuku Street.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

This area holds many temples, shrines and also fairly dense housing. Like a spreading network of space, those houses and complexes fill the blank spaces between the streets and alleys.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

In this scheme, 2 void spaces were provided within the building mass as functioning staircases. With these compact staircases, the floor area of the rental area is increased.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

The void space is linked with each residential unit’s balconies as continuous Tree-Shaped Void Space and spread throughout the balconies, towards the gaps in neighboring residential buildings, the courtyard, the passage at the back, and the neighboring apartment corridors.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

All the dwelling units have either balcony spaces or terraces.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

Walking into a dwelling unit from the staircase, through the dwelling unit, and come out to the balcony, the staircase appears once again.The far end of each unit is linked with the entrance area at front through the void.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

Keeping the great sense of privacy in the unit layout, this void is meant to create a sense of community and encourages interactions among dwellers. Concrete texture of this project is one of the important design criteria.

Yotsuya Tenera by Key Operation

In comparison with the surrounding buildings, the volume of this complex is relatively larger, but it still balances up with the scale of the surrounding buildings with its appearance; harsh cast concrete finish was softened with wood texture to create friendly and harmonious appearance.

  • http://www.sumoservices.com/our-services MeasuredBldngSurveys

    This is a fantastic apartment. I fancy how they have opted stairs that directly lead to the tenant's door as opposed to corridors. I also fancy the fact that this apartment complex encourages people to interact with each other.

  • Grapes

    Why are the aircons centre stage? I think they make the building look like a retro fit and that’s sad if it’s brand new as the design has merit.

    ”Dreams must have drains” Reg Ashburn, Manchester School of Architecture

    • ll2

      Reg Ashburn = Legend

  • Avg

    Interesting design, but I don't buy the bare concrete anymore, doesn't age well, never has….