Designed by Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA, this house of floating concrete planes and glass walls contrives an ascetic domesticity tempered only by nature.
Located in a dense commercial district, the building provides a combined home and workplace for two writers. The site was just four metres wide, so Nishizawa designed a building that has only glass walls to avoid narrowing the interior spaces even further.
Garden & House is embodying the floating spatial quality found in traditional Japanese houses: flexible program, an absence of walls, smooth blending of inside and outside, close relationship with natural elements. The client, a woman who lived with her business partner in the suburbs, had grown dissatisfied with long commutes and her dark old house. As both are writers and editors in art and design, she found a tiny plot for a new home within walking distance of Tokyo’s cultural centre. Located along a narrow, three-metre alley and encircled by towering condominiums and office buildings, the four-storey structure comprises simple, stacked, concrete slabs held by three reinforced concrete columns and a thin steel post.
"My final decision of structure consisted of a vertical layer of horizontal slabs to create a building without walls," said the architect.