This house for a surgeon in Chiba, Japan, by Apollo Architects & Associates contains courtyards with elevated wooden walkways and glass walls behind its thick concrete exterior (+ slideshow).
The residence was designed for a busy street in Yotsukaido City, so Apollo Architects & Associates used chunky slabs of reinforced concrete to create a soundproofed barrier around the interior spaces.
"[The client] requested privacy and quietness for his wife and three children to lead healthy lives," explain the architects.
The largest of the three courtyards sits beyond a sheltered driveway and contains a grass lawn and a central tree, while the second is positioned past the entrance and accommodates a pebble surface and a small maple tree.
The smallest court is tucked away at the back to offer a small outdoor area for the main bedroom and bathroom.
"The family can enjoy different atmospheres in these courtyards," say the architects.
Two staircases lead up to the living room and the children's room on the first floor. One is indoors and built from wood, but the second is a series of concrete treads that rise up from the grassy courtyard.
Wooden balconies overlook the courtyards from above and residents can look into different rooms through glass walls.
The house is named Still and was completed in spring 2012.
Tokyo-based Apollo Architects & Associates is led by Satoshi Kurosaki. The studio has designed a number of houses since launching in 2000, including Lift in Sendai with a pointy overhang and Damier in Tokyo which has a chequered facade. See more houses designed by Apollo Architects & Associates.
Photography is by Masao Nishikawa.
Here's some more information from Apollo Architects & Associates:
The client acquired the 330 m2 orthogonal property located along the road in pursuit of a space to rest his body and soul exhausted from his work as a surgeon. He requested privacy and quietness for his wife and three children to lead healthy lives. The building is set back from the frontal street where heavy vehicles pass by regularly. Parking space is secured for three cars. Reinforced concrete structure is chosen for its soundproofing ability. The opening is kept to a small horizontal ribbon window to block the noise and automobile emissions.
The client purchased this property sized over 300 m2 for a purpose of creating courtyards with tall symbolic trees. There is a compact court with a maple tree in front of the entrance. Across the central corridor is the main court. And, toward the back of the site is a narrow bathroom court. The family can enjoy different atmospheres in these courtyards.
The master bedroom and bathroom are located in the quiet area far from the street so that the residents can relax while viewing the garden. Each space offers its unique ambience. For example, in the study adjacent to the bedroom, the residents are able to carry out their professional work, or in the Japanese room facing the entrance court, they could relax and enjoy the space while sitting on the floor.
The family space on the second floor is a single space surrounded by full-height glazing. Across the central corridor, the children's room/study space is located. The space can be separated into individual rooms in the future. The other characteristic of this house is that the residents can experience the circulation space as they cross between inside and outside, thanks to the central corridor and roof balcony connecting the main building and annex. It is the ultimate luxury to lead a slow-paced life and enjoy the changing seasons.