Origami in Ice: Sculptural Tokyo Home Sheathed in Glass



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Looking like a modernist sculpture covered in a delicate sheet of ice, The A’ House rises up from its narrow perch on a residential Tokyo street. The small home curves in just a bit at the street level to allow just enough room to park a Smart car.

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The home was designed by Wiel Arets Architects to fit into Nishi-Azabu, a neighborhood known for its population density and narrow streets.

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The compact residence abuts a park that is extremely popular when the cherry blossoms begin to bloom in Spring. Thanks to some unique features, the residents of this home get a particularly lovely view of the yearly spectacle.

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A’ House contains several very large windows covered with panels of sliding double-layered windows. Inside, a transparent layer of glass lets the residents look out unimpeded.

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When more privacy is desired. the outside textured layer of glass can be pulled closed over the windows. The textured glass bears the same ice-like appearance of the material covering the entirety of the home’s exterior.

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To minimize the home’s footprint while maximizing the usefulness of the interior, the architects divided the home’s interior into five zones, all connected with a steep spiral staircase. The configuration allows for a loft-like feel to the inside of the home even though it is quite small.

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A small balcony extends from the master bedroom to allow for an exquisite view of the nearby park. One wall of the terrace is equipped with an oversized textured glass window, allowing either for a sense of privacy or an unimpeded view of the park.

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The structure looks almost like glass origami. One of the large windows acts as the home’s main entrance, and all of the sliding glass panels allow the residents to adjust how much of a visual dialogue they want to have with the neighborhood and the city around them.

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