Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Site Size: 1,121 square feet (plus 280-square-foot terrace)

Project Size: 1,649 square feet

Program: The clients desired as much light and sense of openness as possible in a tight site. Lodged between two buildings, the house is approximately 15 feet wide and 70 feet deep.

Solution: The architects decided against jamming a single mass into the constricted space. Instead, they stacked three rectangular concrete volumes and dressed them with floor-to-ceiling windows. The first floor contains a work space, guest area, and bathroom; the second, a sitting area, bath, and master bedroom. With a lounge, kitchen, and dining areas, the third floor connects to an outdoor terrace.

Like a “plant in pursuit of light,” the twisting volumes emphasize access to the outdoors. The structurally continuous floor-wall-ceiling frame forms a fold held together by slender steel columns. (The columns range in diameter from 3.15 inches on the first and second floor to 2.4 inches on the third.) The seismic forces are transmitted downward through the concrete fold, and lateral torsion is countered by this beams-become-columns-become-beams solution. The house was completed in December 2011.


Completion Date: 12/2011

Gross square footage: 1649 sq ft (+ 280 sq ft roof terrace)

Florian Busch Architects
Sakuragaoka-cho 14-10-312
Tokyo, 150-0031

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Florian Busch (registered architect)
Sachiko Miyazaki (registered architect)
Momoyo Yamawaki

OAK Structural Engineering:  Masato Araya, Tomonori Kawata

Environmental+M&E:  ymo (Yamada Machinery Office): Hiroyuki Yamada, Natsumi Tsuchiya

Textile: Yoko Ando

General contractor: Yabusaki Corp.

Hiroyasu Sakaguchi AtoZ



Structural system
Reinforced Concrete Frame Structure, Steel Columns

Exterior cladding
Metal Panels:
steel panels, insulated, for ventilation on long sides

Metal/glass curtain wall:
double-glazing in metal frames (see below), total glazed area c. 1720 sq ft

Curtain wall: see above

Other cladding unique to this project:
Water-proof concrete (company: Takei-bosui)

Water-proof concrete (company: Takei-bosui)

Steel frame: All custom-designed and handmade

double-glazing (6.8mm | 12mm | 6mm)

Insulated-panel or plastic glazing:
(see above: steel panels, insulated, for ventilation on long sides)

Entrances: Steel with insulation layer inside, custom-designed and handmade

Sliding doors:
Wood: plywood: t = 30mm (sliding doors at bath units 1F and 2F)

Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
custom designed and handmade

Paints and stains:
“livos” natural oil finishing on all wooden elements

Floors: screed with underfloor heating on concrete slab

Walls/ceilings: exposed concrete

Special interior finishes unique to this project:
wall finishes for bathrooms on 1F and 2F: FRP

1F Jacobsen Swan Chairs, Fritz Hansen
2F Panton chairs, Vitra
3F dining: custom-designed, handmade benches: l=1500mm, w=330mm, ash, polished with livos natural oil

1F antique foldable gambling table
2F Saarinen Tulip table
3F dining: custom-designed, handmade dining table: l=3000mm, w=660mm, ash, polished with livos natural oil

custom-designed sofa (3F lounge): leather, stainless steel base

Other furniture (use additional sheet if necessary):
2F bed: custom-designed and handmade: Japanese cedar: recycled scaffolding boards


embedded in concrete ceiling

Task lighting:
[pendant from downlight socket]
[antique stainless steel desk lamp]

LED exterior lighting to light up bamboo garden in back

Dimming System or other lighting controls:
task light 3F kitchen: dimmable lighting rails