“Life in Spiral” by Hideaki Takayanagi
This small house in Tokyo sits on a tiny lot in a neighborhood of apartment buildings. Because of the small lot size, the only way to get sufficient living area was to build up, four stories tall. From the outside, the most distinguishing characteristic of the boxy house are the two glass facades which reveal a staircase winding around the perimeter of the home. On the inside, that staircase defines the character of the space. A tightly-wound staircase that zig-zagged back and forth over itself would have been more space-efficient. Instead, architect Hideaki Takayanagi opted for a stair that rises in a wide arc, sacrificing some space in favor of architectural interest.
The house has 109 m2 (1,173 ft2) of floor space. One of the ground floor walls folds in slightly to form a covered entry. The entrance foyer shares the ground floor with a home office, where a built-in desk and shelves make good use of the space under the stairs. One flight up is the living area. From there the stairs wrap around the front of the house to reach the private spaces, a bedroom and bath on the third level and two more bedrooms on the top floor. The front glass facade offers a very nice view of a small park across the street. Vertical blinds on both window walls can be angled for privacy as needed.
The staircase is walled off in some places and left open in others, providing unexpected views of both the interior and exterior. The bathtub has an interior window to the stairs which provides bathers with a view of the trees in the park. The kitchen at the back of the house likewise benefits from additional light and a view of the sky. The wall between the master bedroom and stairs is partly solid and partly glass, providing visual and sound privacy without eliminating the view.
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