As one of the world's largest and most expensive cities, it would come as no surprise that Tokyo can be, at places, pretty strapped for space. The result can leave the city's residents, who are looking to build their dream home, struggling to find their own perfect plot of land, no matter of size or location. It can also offer ample motivation for a variety of clever and creative solutions.
An example of the genre, the Nerima house is a recently completed residential build in Tokyo by Stockholm based architects Elding Oscarson. The project is located on a fairly compact 100 sq m, 35 year old garden plot in the leafy outskirts of the Japanese capital. From the very start of the project, the client had requested to preserve as much of the garden's plants as possible, so now the property is engulfed in a rich green oasis.
The home's entrance floor lies semi-submerged below ground level, offering an extra element of privacy for the owners, as well as enhancing the visual connection to the surrounding foliage. The majority of the 99 sq m house, which spans two levels, is designed in an open plan, as the architects wanted to avoid dividing the property into many smaller spaces, in order to secure a more generous and airy feel inside.
One of the timber-clad structure's most defining features is its glass strip window, which sits on the top floor and goes around the building. This 360-degree panoramic window adds to the interior's sense of space and floods the floor with light. The large opening is supported by a series of understated, thin white solid steel columns, which don't detract from the horizontal band's strong visual effect.
Elding Oscarson, headed by Johan Oscarson and Jonas Elding, work in both Sweden and Japan – and have a nomination for Wallpaper* Best Private House in 2011 under their belt, for their Landskrona townhouse scheme. Their style – clean, minimal and sophisticated – is both sensitive to its context and modern.
True to this approach, their vision for the Nerima house aimed for a ‘rich atmosphere surrounded by light and nature.’ The duo combined the best of both countries' worlds, marrying Scandinavian minimalism with a Japanese sense of warmth and tactility, all impressively incorporated into this compact property.