Todoroki, Tokyo’s only valley, is the beautiful setting for a modern Japanese house called the Double Circular Ring. The house blends modern function and traditional materials in a kind of spectacular sight that blends in with its lush green surroundings.

The interior of the home is free of walls other than those surrounding private areas like the bathrooms; a compartment-style kitchen also sits in the middle of the first floor. Designed by Fujiwalabo Architects, the home was meant to feel free and breezy. The anchoring visual structure in the home is the central staircase.

The staircase maximizes the interior space of the home by doubling as storage. Drawers and shelves fill the space beneath the stairs; additional storage lines the walls of the home’s corridors.
Glass walls make up nearly all of the home’s exterior. When lit from the inside, the home looks like a glittering jewel in the midst of this residential neighborhood. The residents have the option to pull interior curtains closed, blocking their daily activities from the eyes of passers-by and providing a sense of privacy and security.

From the architects:
“The house is located in Todoroki, Tokyo. If you walk around Todoroki, you would notice how hilly this district is. No wonder, you then come across a ‘canyon’ at the heart of the residences – Todoroki Keikoku, the only gorge existing in Tokyo. The repeating ups and downs in the area are actually a part of the topography from the Ice Age – a dynamic environment created in some 10,000 years of time.”
“In order to preserve this rich nature surrounding the canyon, regulations for this area prescribe a setback (receding of the wall) from the border of the site and greening of the outside space. By taking advantage of these rules, the residential area can generate a ‘green ring in sequence,’ where green circles continue to develop. We approached with a broad concept for the house – the design wouldn’t complete just within the site but could also offer a sense of “movement” and “series of green rings” – which you would find throughout the entire landscape of Todoroki.”