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By Ellie Stathaki
Japanese houses have become known for their clever (albeit challengingly) compact architecture: dwellings are usually squeezed into narrow plots, constructed in unusual shapes and with minimal outside space. In that context, House-S is a sure departure from the norm.
The project is the latest residential work by young Tokyo-based architect Keiji Ashizawa. As well as being comfortably spread across three spacious levels, it also boasts the luxury of a terrace or garden on every single floor - even the roof.
Located in a quiet residential area a few roads away from the busy Tokyo business district, House-S is the family home of a professional couple and their two young children. Connection with the outside world was a key requirement for the clients and this need soon became central to the whole design concept.
In an effort to maximise living space, Ashizawa created large floor-to-ceiling openings towards the ground floor garden, also enhancing this feeling of generousness with a double-height dark wood-clad sitting room area.
In addition to this, different gardens or outdoor terraces were created for different parts of the house. The dining room overlooks a green garden featuring a decked terrace, the bedrooms are linked via a common planted terrace, and the decked roof offers long views from the top of the building towards the business district's skyscrapers. All these outdoor areas have a different personality and were designed to be as private as possible, kept away from the neighbours and passer-by's prying eyes.
Highlighting the owners' passion and deep understanding for old Asian furniture, design and the modern arts, the ample spaces created were also perfect for the owners' design collection display. The structure may appear hermetically closed from the outside, but inside, the architects secured a comfortable, green and spacious contemporary family home.
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