Within Tokyo’s dense urban fabric, residences often face the challenge of getting enough light, privacy and usable interior spaces to live in. Wiel Arets Architects has completed a house in the neighborhood of Nishi-Azabu that is designed with these considerations in mind.
The A’ House is clad with textured glazed panels that gently reflect the life and movements of the narrow residential street it is located on. Yet the beauty is in its double-layer glazed windows made of a transparent layer and the same textured panels that match the rest of the exterior. These windows allow the residents to slide between the transparent and translucent, adjusting their privacy as needed while getting sufficient light inside. On the exterior, the uniformity of the façade is interrupted by the extended frame tracks of the windows so the views can be expanded to the maximum length, enabling an uninhibited view to the outside.
The interiors are finished with mostly concrete in minimal details, from the bedrooms to the kitchen and livings spaces, while the warped surfaces and corners provide some relief in the architecture in a language that ties itself to the exterior. The concrete also reflects the light, so the spaces seem bright and airy in contrast to the heaviness of the concrete. The ability to be closed in from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo’s neighborhood or to be in constant interaction with the outside through the windows is a privilege which this house was intended for.