Kiyotoshi Mori and Natsuko Kawamura of Tokyo-based MDS wanted Shirokane House to make the most of its small site, so they designed a three-storey volume that angles outwards and upwards to create extra space and bring in more light.
"There are basic requirements for a house, where people live, such as privacy protection and ample daylight and ventilation," they said. "It, however, takes a little ingenuity to satisfy such requirements under a given condition that a site is surrounded by the neighbouring buildings."
Residents enter the house on the middle floor, and are led through to a double-height kitchen and dining room that receives natural light through a pair of high level windows.
One of the windows fronts a living room on the storey above, while the other sits in front of a small roof terrace.
A lightweight steel and timber staircase leads up to this top floor. Upon arriving in the living room, a steeply angled ceiling is revealed, as well as a corner window with a pointed tip.
Concrete walls are left exposed inside the house as well as outside, and are textured by horizontal markings that reveal the original timber formwork. Floors are finished in walnut.
A set of wall-mounted rungs form a ladder leading up to a second terrace on the roof, while bedrooms and bathrooms are located on the lowest floor.
Photography is by Forward Stroke inc.
Here's a project description from MDS:
The small site is located in a typical Tokyo urban residential area, where houses are closely built up. A pursuit of internal spaces in this house, as a result, changes the Tokyo cityscape a little.
An area for one floor is usually desired as large as possible, in particular, in such a narrow site. For this house, the first floor area is small due to the parking space and the second floor is, instead, larger. The outer appearance is examined based on ceiling height, slant line regulations for a building shape.
There are basic requirements for a house, where people live, such as privacy protection and ample daylight and ventilation. It, however, takes a little ingenuity to satisfy such requirements under a given condition that a site is surrounded by the neighbouring buildings. For the site, the southern site across the road is "tentatively" a parking space and no one can tell what will happen in the future. The daylight is, therefore, taken in from the above as much as possible and it is brought downstairs.
The living room is on the top floor. The roof terrace facing the blow-by above the living room and the terrace connected with the living room take daylight and air in the house and the light falls on the dining and kitchen room downstairs. The irregular shape at the corner of the site allows the house continuously to keep privacy as well as daylight and ventilation.
The building looks quiet only with the entrance on the south facade, it embraces expressive internal spaces where light and shadow change by the minute.
Architecture: Kiyotoshi Mori & Natsuko Kawamura / MDS
Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo
Principal Use: Residence
Site Area: 64.49 sqm
Total Floor Area: 101.63 sqm
Exterior Finish: cedar forms exposed concrete
Roof: exposed concrete
Floor: walnut flooring
Wall: plaster/cedar forms exposed concrete
Ceiling: acrylic emulsion paint + plaster board