The modern Japanese home we will explore today presents several stunning features. It is located in a relatively dense suburban area and the architects, Atelier 24, have focussed on how to create a very private interior. At the same time, they have worked hard to build a home with a strong relationship to the natural world. They have done this by giving the abode an L-shaped layout that wraps around a modern internal garden. They have also designed a wonderful rooftop terrace and some fairly unusual window openings. These features all allow lots of light into the interior and give it a beautiful bright and airy ambience. But lovers of modern architecture are likely to be most entranced by the simple geometry of the building. The shapes of the internal openings really give this home a striking modernity and character. Come on a photo tour to learn more…
The minimalist facade is certainly private. As we will see in a moment, it is also surprisingly deceiving. There is just a single wooden door and the concrete walls are windowless. Nevertheless, the exterior has a sense of style and interest. The ground level has been raised to create the grassy area on the right. The entrance is also reached after ascending a series of steps and levels. This may be a strongly minimalist facade, but it's also one with a fine attention to subtle detail.
From this birds-eye view of the home, we get a good view of the basic L-shaped layout. The main living area we will explore in a moment is located just below the roof terrace. This enjoys light from the adjacent grassy area and the sleeping areas are contained within the two-level volume to the back. Keen readers will have noticed that the property is also set on a corner block. This can often be a troublesome location for privacy reasons, but the designers have made the most of this extra light such a plot provides. Let's have a look inside for more details…
The entrance has stunning pale wooden walls. As with many Japanese homes, the entrance floor is set at a different level from the main living areas. This helps distinguish the entrance or Genkin, from the private interior of the home. The beauty of this space is its extreme narrow shape and height. This shape has been accentuated with the addition of an extremely narrow window panel in the doorway to our right. A high window draws the eye upwards to similar effect.
The internal courtyard has a very open and airy quality. So it's surprising to see how much privacy this garden really provides. We love how the designers have chosen not to cover this area and left the outdoor area open to the natural elements. A simple cover is provided of course, but it's composed of a simple narrow roof beam that serves to highlight the bold lines of the main building.
Inside the living room we really get a feel for just how bright and spacious this home feels. The unusual openings in the courtyard wall create striking shadows that fall across the ground. This simple geometry is further reflected in the use of bold timber ceiling beams. This is a living room with a strong relationship to the outside world. Finally, note the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors. They further blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor life.
If you are interested in how to create privacy in an unusual layout, check out this project: 6 great small home ideas from one apartment.