This residential project is built close to the Todoroki Ravine Park — the only wild valley located in central Tokyo alongside the Tamagawa river. The building with a view on the Todoroki Ravine consists of 16 units, with its facade as the main feature — reflecting the rareness and exotic nature of the wild environment found in the midst of busy roads. The quiet entrance of the structure, as if secluded from the bustling city, is a design factor inspired by the valley.
The basic structural form used in the facade’s composition is a square: primitive and recognisable shape. These squares, which may be found developed into elements of the facade’s openings or recessed walls, are developed into shapes of the valley ― suggesting an emphasis on the concept of nature in an abstract form to the residents and visitors. The galvanized plates built upon the openings and recessed walls reflect in a variety of colours, in neon shades of blues and yellows, the ever-changing weather and the city’s active movements: the passing transports and pedestrians.
Each of the 16 dwelling units differ from one another, as does their positioning vary in the distribution of spaces between the one-person studios and one-bedroom apartments with living, dining, and kitchen areas. Each of the units is individually and carefully planned to utilise the large square openings for extending the space, light, and wind flow. Notably, this allows for the residents’ rooms to face the west and enjoy the square-framed views of the Todoroki Ravine Park through the window openings. In addition, on the first floor, a garden-like area is present, maintaining the concept of preserving the green scenic area.
The design of the architectural structure follows a minimalist approach in combination with highly flexible and diverse spatial compositions ― despite the challenge of the spatial urban building limitations. This is achieved by the wide-ranging use of materials in its making, such as the contrast between the white walls and exposed concrete surfaces. The spaces within the dwelling units allow each resident to individually alter the spatial atmosphere of their apartment: flexibly adjusting to their liking the relations between the living, dining, and bedroom areas. In each unit, a partial wall provides a small space, which has a dual function of either a walk-in closet or a compact computer booth. The square openings made on the wall area closer to the ceiling assist in expanding the space.
The minimalistic design with the play of materials and space, proposes a rich appreciation of forms and objects in the dynamic state, expanding the concept of living a life without the focus of owning, but rather enjoying the thriving sense of freedom.
Sasaki Architecture is an architecture studio based in Tokyo, Japan. We seek to re-interpret architecture's position within cultural practices that determine meaning, particularly within will of our era.
The investigations traverse not only conventional notions of space, enclosure, and order but also the fluctuating frames that define spaces.