Tokyo Tardis: Apollo Architects slot office into a family home

Apollo Architects have moved their office space into a small but perfectly formed family home in Ayoma
Apollo Architects have moved their office space into a small but perfectly formed family home in Ayoma, Tokyo
(Image credit: Press)

Japanese firm Apollo Architects liked the home they designed for a family in Aoyama, Tokyo so much, they decided to move their offices into its basement. Conceived as a multi-use space from the outset so that the owners could earn an income from rent, the complex is spread over four floors with offices in the basement and living quarters on the ground, first and second floors.

Located in a quiet cul-de-sac, the building is unobtrusive from the street, with a subtle facade that's split into three rectangular slabs – one half reinforced concrete, one quarter Japanese cedar-clad louvres and another half-mirror glass. With its own separate access from the street, the basement office is found via an open tread staircase that wraps two sides of a generous lightwell. With two floor-to-ceiling windows that maximise on daylight, the basement now serves as Apollo's HQ which incorporates a small showroom space with furniture samples.

Upstairs, a central dog-leg stairwell wrapped with glass panels punctuates the three floors of the building and channels daylight into the centre of the home. With its huge glass windows, the ground floor functions as a dual-aspect meeting room that’s available for hire. From here, the central staircase leads upwards to the first floor where the main bedroom – which benefits from south-facing, leafy courtyard views, a walk-in-closet and its own triangular balcony – is located. Two further bedrooms and a compact bathroom and wash room overlook the street.

On the second floor, an open-plan living room and kitchen are placed to the west, while a dining area and library are on the east, loosely divided by the staircase. Up above, on the timber-decked rooftop, the family enjoy an 'outdoor living room' area that offers up panoramic views of the neighbourhood.

Broad glass planes of the upper level living area

The firm are known for their logical approach to aesthetics. They're problem solvers, as seen here in the clean lines and broad glass planes of the upper level living area, creating the illusion of a much larger space

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Up on the top we find the family living room

Up on the top we find the family living room, which is comfortably distinct from the office area, separated from where the business happens

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Outside, the quiet cul-de-sac location and concrete facade play down the striking interiors, which are deceptively light and airy

Outside, the quiet cul-de-sac location and concrete facade play down the striking interiors, which are deceptively light and airy

(Image credit: Press)

Here we see the central glass and dog-leg stairwell that links all three floors and adds continuity to the multi-functioning space

Here we see the central glass and dog-leg stairwell that links all three floors and adds continuity to the multi-functioning space

(Image credit: Press)

Down in the basement is where the real architectural magic happens. The highly-functioning office space is surprisingly spacious and comfortable, as well as being the economic choice, rent-wise

Down in the basement is where the real architectural magic happens. The highly-functioning office space is surprisingly spacious and comfortable, as well as being the economic choice, rent-wise

(Image credit: Press)

One of the quirks of the multi-purpose structure is the bathroom, which is clearly visible from the office space, cordoned off only by a glass panel

One of the quirks of the multi-purpose structure is the bathroom, which is clearly visible from the office space, cordoned off only by a glass panel

(Image credit: Press)

But this can be forgiven when the unbroken, upstairs living space is seen. The perfect square is uncluttered, minimalist and a welcome reprise from the busy,working office below

...but this can be forgiven when the unbroken, upstairs living space is seen. The perfect square is uncluttered, minimalist and a welcome reprise from the busy,working office below 

(Image credit: Press)

Similar tables and bookshelves

Still, similar themes are carried over from the basement office to the living spaces above (as seen in the use of similar tables and bookshelves) encouraging us to question whether our work-life spaces really do need to be so distinct

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INFORMATION

For more information, visit the Apollo Architect website (opens in new tab)