This Japanese dwelling complex embodies the best of both private and public living: four lofted apartments with privacy and views above, and a space for collaboration, gatherings and exhibitions in a covered outdoor courtyard space below.

Support functions (such as storage and restrooms) are situated on the first floor to allow occupants maximum leisure, cooking and sleeping use of their respective upstairs areas via small living-and-bedroom zones and kitchenettes (supplemented by shared appliances below).

A set of  four odd-angled masses form the base for each lofted apartment unit in turn, while partially framing the open-air area below, creating a semi-enclosed common area while leaving it partially public as well.

Each underlying volume has a distinct shape and relationship to the site, creating a sense of artistic individuality within a common architectural language. They are also each accessed via a winding outdoor metal staircase that puts the occupant at once on display but also allows for lovely views down into the center of the complex.

At the same time, there is a structural simplicity to the actual lofts above, making the final project less expensive and more familiar when it comes to core beginning-and-end-of-day functions. Design by ON design partners and located in Kanagawa, Japan.

From the architects:

“Yokohama apartment is a residential complex consisting of semi public courtyard canopied by four one-room units for young artists. The semi public courtyard is a place for exhibition and work. The site is a hilly area with narrow roads where small wooden houses cluster. This is why a sense of distance, which is compact with actual feeling, exists.We thought that by providing a semi public courtyard for exhibition and work and huts for living, the place would become an environment where people can find place and ways to use according to the condition.”

“The semi public courtyard is a modern interpretation apprehending piloti not only as the form of space but also as a condition that encourage a variety of lifestyle adding elements such as staircase and triangular shape which is found out from surrounding environment.”