This Tokyo home, built for a couple with one child, sits right on the edge of a hill somewhere in the sprawling city’s limits, surveying the homes and businesses below. Designed by APOLLO Architects & Associates, each level of this three-story house has its own personality, transitioning from isolated private space on the bottom to open-air living up top. Though it looks rather standard and rectangular from below, the residence is actually full of angled walls and irregular floorplans, centered around the social space in its middle. Huge windows on two sides of the house give commanding views of the valley downhill, while other windows are farther in between or smaller due to the proximity of neighbors. The building has an outdoor deck on each floor, making its interior space more compact than one might imagine.
The bottom floor of the residence is the most conventional of the three, with a hallway crossing between bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. Its walls are a pleasingly creamy white tone, and soft lighting is used throughout. The second floor represents a complete contrast to the first, with wide-open living spaces and dark, modern decor. The floor and the one above it also have significant glass area, something that’s not present on the bottom floor except in individual rooms. The top floor is the child’s bedroom, filled with natural light and with easy access to and from below.
The white house is set on the top of a steep hillside, with most of its windows and all of its decks facing expansive views of Tokyo.
From its entrance side at the hill’s top, the house reveals the varying nature of its floorplan level-by-level. No one floor is the same size or shape, giving each a unique feel.
A small garage-style locker next to the house’s door provides ample space for bicycles or any other objects that would look incongruous inside the house.
Every floor of the house has its own deck, the largest of which being a rooftop patio next to the third-floor child’s room.
The master bathroom’s window is set mildly into the wall overlooking the city, leading into the room. Somebody bathing can have a full view below without anybody from outside having a view in.
Each level is connected by a multi-platform staircase which starts in traditional style on the lower floor and later adopts the more contemporary metal form seen on the upper two floors.
The middle level is the home’s largest, a single open room encompassing living, cooking, and dining areas. Black beams contrast with white ceilings and walls, accented by the wood which covers the floors and fixtures.
Since the floor is a continuous area, different “rooms” within it are defined by stepped flooring or furniture barriers.
A sunken portion of ceiling between the middle and top floors is slatted to provide a view up from below and down from above. A final flight of stairs leads to the top floor, which is the other bedroom of the house.
This top floor is perhaps the most airy portion of the home, with half the wall space of the bedroom constructed entirely of glass and a large roof deck out its doors.
The top part of the staircase has a spiral form, but doesn’t complete a full rotation between the relatively low-ceilinged floors.
The kitchen is functionally elegant, with stainless steel food preparation surfaces and color-matched wood side coverings.
The only major window to face away from the hillside, this opening across from the kitchen is accented by a wooden bench or shelf.
Down below where the most private areas of the house are, the staircase turns from sleek and metallic to traditionally wooden.
This entire floor is comfortable and warm in tone, with soft yellow lighting and a familiar hallway-based layout for private spaces.
The bedroom on this floor features raised storage and a large hillside window with an inset bench for sweeping views of Tokyo.
The master bathroom invokes the darker, more contemporary themes found upstairs, but packages them in a more intimate manner.