Off the Block: 13 Out-There Apartment Designs in Japan

Apartments for Motorcycle Owners

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Cute little garages that are sized just right for motorcycles are arranged around a semi-circular courtyard, with living spaces on the upper levels, in this specialized apartment building in Tokyo. Each of the eight units has its own drive-up indoor parking space, and the curved form enables access to lots of daylight as well as views of the communal space.

Sandwich Apartment Straddles Alley

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One residence was separated into three units with the owner’s unit straddling the empty space between two existing structures, seeming to hover in mid-air. This connecting unit also serves as a rooftop terrace, and the space underneath will be used for social gatherings.

Stacked House-Shaped Apartment Units

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‘Tokyo Apartment’ by Sou Fujimoto Architect stacks house-shaped volumes right on top of each other in seemingly chaotic fashion. Each of the four units has two or three rooms, the upper floors accessible only by steep exterior staircases. The architect sees the building as a “miniature of Tokyo,” saying “When you go up outside stairs, you will have experience that is a wonder climbing a big mountain such as a city.”

Terraces and Transparency
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An emphasis is placed on exterior spaces with SALHAUS’ Apartment in Nishiazabu, a ten-unit complex in an area that’s dominated by individual residences and high-rise condominiums. Surrounding each of the apartments with a screened, protruding terrace offers access to the outdoors as well as a bit of privacy for the interior spaces, finding a balance between the neighborhood’s extremes.