The undeniable star feature of this modern geometric home is the quadrilateral facade. From the street, it appears not to have a perpendicular surface in sight. Instead, it possesses a diagonal area with a geometric grid of skylights composed of triangles and a square. This is one facade that makes a bold impression.
This inspiring white home is located in the busy Tokyo metropolis and was designed by Japanese architects Tekuto. For a home with such big ideas, it is surprisingly small and each of the three levels of the home are just over 42 square meters. It is composed of one main residence at the front of the home and another two studio apartments located at the rear. It is the main residence that we will explore today.
But this building offers more than just a striking facade. Come with us on a journey from the viewing platform, into the home and up through the staircase to learn more.
So often we see an incredible facade that makes a striking view from the neighbours home but adds little to the interior life of the building. But here, we have a stunning view of the facade from the interior. This viewing platform or bedroom mezzanine on the second floor is just one of many vantage points that can be enjoyed from within this unique home. The area of the skylight is also the one that offers the most privacy as well.
The white, geometric facade contains the polyhedron shape we mentioned earlier. It is made from concrete and rendered in white that works beautifully against the airy, geometric pattern of skylights. But this geometric design is not just beautiful it also has practical advantages as the diagonal surface helps drain rainwater from the white walls. This was important to the owner who wanted to avoid the build up of dirt and damage that can mar white facades. From this vantage point we can also see the various entrance points around the perimeter of the home.
Inside the entrance area, we come to the first floor living area. While the entrance was rendered white, here we have exposed concrete surfaces. The interior is designed in a pared back, minimalist style. The materials are common in contemporary Japanese minimalism and the raw surfaces show the influence of the wabi-sabi style. This level has a five-meter high ceiling and benefits from the light pouring in through the skylights of the facade.
As we ascend the spiral staircase, we get a sense of the layout of the home. The staircase has metal, cantilevered steps that lead us directly behind the dazzling facade. This allows for vantage points at multiple levels. But it also has a functional value in allowing copious amounts of light to flood the interior living spaces.
From this angle of the open plan living room, we get a good sense of how the light from the stairwell penetrates the interior. It adds a powerful illumination that creates a bright, clean ambience against the raw concrete walls and wooden floorboards. Although this is the primary source of light in the room, there is just a small window on the other side of the room. This allows for some contrast and a sense of privacy within the home. Surprisingly, this room covers just 15.8 square meters in total floor space.
Moving up towards the mezzanine level, we pass yet another vantage point. When designing in a densely built up urban environment, one key issue is how to design around the views of neighbouring buildings. The architects here wanted to maintain a direct relationship with the natural sky views. They described their approach as 'designing the sky'. Here we have a good view of the triangular window lights and a sense of how the bright blue sky imbues the home with a strong connection with nature.
If you are interested in Japanese architecture, you would love this Ideabook The House of Natural Geometry.