A Tokyo house’s 1,900 square foot labyrinthine interior makes for a dynamic space. Never judge a building’s interior by its facade. Nestled in Tokyo’s Meguro District, this house’s minimalist shell belies the unique zigzagging, spiralling interior plan. Situated on an approximately 12 ft incline, the site originally needed retaining walls and a way to highlight the handful of tall trees at the top of the hill. The retaining walls became a crucial piece of the architect and are now referred to as the “shell” around the house. Artechnic, the Tokyo-based firm behind the project—dubbed SRK—explains that the angle of the shell allows for more natural sunlight as well as a sense of openness. Thus, the architects successfully transported the residents from their neighborhood to an airy home more immersed in nature.

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Concrete planters frame the facade—a union of monolithic slabs that offers privacy and compositional integrity to the building. The exterior is a plaster finish over insulation and concrete.

The challenge of building as angular a house on a 12 ft grade was visualizing how various vertical and horizontal planes would meet. The staircase serves as the backbone of the plan.

A Raimond by Moooi pendant light fixture hangs over the staircase , while angular railing emphasizes the spiral-esque floor plan.

The retaining walls not only block views of the neighbors, but also reflect light back into the space. Tilting the walls outward enhances the overall openness of the space.

The architects explain that sleek European furniture adds strength to an otherwise flat, airy room with several sheer walls. Vol au Vent by Mario Bellini dining chairs complement the granite dining room surfaces. The sofa is Hamilton Islands by Minotti.

Walnut stairs are side-lit by LEDs.

A complex spatial plan gives dimension to an otherwise traditional two story home. TOTO and CERA fixtures liven up the downstairs bathroom.

The architects describe the upstairs views as transporting the residents to a rocky mountain.



  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)