Outside In House: Lively Courtyard Brings Nature Indoors

Where most architecture strives to be beautiful in some way, it has been argued that man-made structures can never hope to match the loveliness of nature. This house in a residential district in Tokyo was designed by Japanese architecture firm mamm-design to embrace the best of nature and manufactured design.

Starting on the exterior with a slight cantilever over a ground-level terrace, the Minna-no-ie house seems greater than the extremely small 4.5 meter-by-12 meter lot on which it sits.

The entrance of the home is defined by floor-to-ceiling glass doors which connect the interior and exterior in a tangible yet transparent way.

Upon stepping into the home, visitors are immediately greeted with a live tree growing in the interior courtyard. Clad in slate-colored brick flooring that bring to mind an outdoor courtyard, the first level contains a modest sunken kitchen and a dining area directly beneath the tree.

The back of the first level contains a bright and sunny bathroom – the only room in the home with solid walls creating a barrier from the rest of the interior.

The second level is a series of platforms arranged around the stunning courtyard. The sections are sans barriers, all connected physically and visually with the heart of the home to allow residents the option of constant verbal contact with one another.

Large, lovely skylights illuminate the entire interior of the home and let the quality of light and shadow shift throughout the day and night.

While most of us choose an assortment of houseplants and maybe some potted trees to bring nature into our homes, this amazing structure goes many steps further to make the residents feel as though they are truly living in an outdoor plaza…albeit one that is sheltered from changing weather conditions.

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