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Collection by Maggie Kinser Hohle

Building Blocks

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On a double suburban lot in Tokyo, the Office of Ryue Nishizawa built a neighborhood-scaled, flexible-format minimalist steel prefab compound for Yasuo Moriyama—a very private individual with a powerful social bent—and six rental tenants. Every room is its own building—even Moriyama's bath is a freestanding box. Here, tradition and innovation interweave to create a new kind of community.

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None of the ten units is purely communal, but detached Unit C, Yasuo Moriyama’s “living room,” functions the most...
Friends from Tokyo are touring the house.
Nakamura (far right), Masako Nishizaki (the only resident not involved in design), and Ippei Takahashi enjoy a sushi...
Johanna Meyer-Grohbruegge, the newest resident and one of the rotating international architects in Ryue Nishizawa’s...
A stream of curious visitors necessitates plenty of takeout.
The stereo in Unit A’s third-floor bedroom/study box is just a tease compared to the windowless basement “audio room,”...
Each unit has its own outdoor space, but none are physically bounded, facilitating spontaneous interaction.
In Unit J's kitchen, the Bouroullec brother's Algue for Vitra echoes the greenery outside.
The evening bath is a ritual in Japan, and public baths are still around, but this is a new twist.
The compound at dusk.
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