Courtyard-centric homes have a long tradition in Japan, but this house takes exterior minimalism to a new level – its facade shows almost no hint of what will be found inside the box.

Designed by Dai Nagasaka of Mega (images by Kei Sugino), the rectilinear shell stands out but is not entirely out of scale with the neighborhood – thin horizontals help tie it back in to the residential surroundings.

But the interior is where the real magic unfolds. A ribbon of program and variable-height fenestration wraps up and around the central courtyard providing light and visual interest as residents wind their way through the structure.

The courtyard itself is accessible from multiple levels, as is an exterior deck that doubles back on the wrapping ribbon of interior spaces below it. What seems from the outside to be a closed-off box is in fact a three-dimensionally-complex set of functional and dynamic living spaces.