Privately Public: Green Home Towers Tall on Tiny Urban Lot


An oasis in the city, this spectacular home sits on a 12-by-24-foot plot between towering residential buildings that abut it on both sides … yet seems almost like a miniature ecosystem despite its cramped quarters.

Architect Ryue Nishizawa uses lush greenery to give remarkable privacy to this Tokyo abode, with planters and vases screening views from the street.

Inside, spaces are left open and undivided and borders are created with curtains, benches and other built-in or temporary dividers.  The ground-level kitchen and living room give way to bedrooms and bathrooms above, ending in a guest room and roof terrace.

Thick concrete slabs support each story, with punched-hole openings letting stairs, light and air percolate between levels. Somehow, despite its relatively small stature and unique approach, it stands out dramatically while also blending into its surroundings.

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