Small, urban lots can be tricky, especially in Tokyo, Japan—a city as dense as New York City. But a 6-story concrete building in a dense block of Tokyo manages to take advantage of limited space without sacrificing style.
Designed by local studio Tomoyuki Kurokawa Architects, the Kitasenzoku Apartment is a mixed-use block that serves as an office and residence, as well as lounge space for students from the nearby Tokyo Institute of Technology. The faceted volume of this apartment is punctured by holes that make up windows, balconies and open-air stairwells.
The building designers did not intend to use holes as functioning elements of the building at first, but were forced to go that route because of limited usable space in the neighborhood. In order to avoid blocking other buildings from sunlight, architects planned out holes of different sizes on the façade of the apartment.
Plenty of leftover spaces resulting from the irregular volume serve as balconies for residents in the building. Windows are open on the wall and the slope ceiling, strengthening the beauty of asymmetry in this structure.
The two lower levels of the building accommodate student activities, while the top four floors function as offices and apartments. In addition, there are numerous communal spaces inside the building, which can host informal panels, group activities, and other student events.
"The building form was derived from the calculations of setback and shadow-casting regulations, while the volume was defined by the necessary areas and spaces for the residences and users," said designer Tomoyuki Kurokawa, in an interview with Dezeen.
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