Home in Tokyo uses ‘vertical circulation’ to increase light

Vertical circulation becomes a device for light, views, and interaction in this Japanese house by n o t architect’s studio. To obtain these views and create light filled spaces, the architects sliced the scheme with a curved staircase and used windows facing two directions.

Painted in silver and with metal stair treads, this valley-like space becomes a stage for daily life. The overhead rooflight brings natural light deep into the floor plan while small square windows on the first and second floor allow residents to interact with one another.


‘Usually, when I walk around my house, I rarely come across a landscape that touches my heart,’ explains Lisa Ono from n o t architects studio. ‘Houses that are similar to each other are lined up, and an artificial and mediocre townscape continues. However, when I squint at the moment, there are moments when I am impressed by the trees planted in the garden, the weeds growing on the roadside, the sunbeams dropped by the roadside trees, and the sky seen through the buildings.’

Regarding the program, the dwelling maximizes its small footprint by rising three storeys tall. The ground floor contains the entry, a bedroom, and storage. There’s also a carport and a small terrace outside. Above that is an open plan kitchen, dining and living space complete with a semi-circular balcony. The top floor comprises the master bedroom and a family bathroom, where even the bathtub has a view.

Images by Yasuhiro Takagi via Designboom

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