Scope is a minimalist house located in Tokyo, Japan, designed by APOLLO Architects & Associates. This residence for a two-generation family makes use of the gently sloping site by locating the garage and entryway underground, thereby taking advantage of an allowance in the building code for increased floor area when part of the building is underground. This enables a layout with three stories’ worth of floor area, enough for the parents’ and children’s residences to be fully separate. Cedar formwork gives the exterior reinforced concrete walls their character, while steel frames surround one-way-mirror windows that maintain both privacy and an open feeling inside. Glass walls separate the garage from the shared underground entryway, making it feel larger than it is. In addition, sunlight pouring in from a skylight lends the entryway a soft ambiance unusual in an underground space.
The parents’ residence, located on the first floor, takes advantage of the wide frontage with a deep balcony whose eaves shelter it from rain, making a special place to spend time outdoors. The simple, one-bedroom unit provides plenty of space for the elderly couple. Pine trees on the neighboring property lend a pleasant view to the chic, serene interior. On the second floor, the younger generation’s residence is distinguished by a bright, airy private entryway light up by a skylight on the north side. As in the lower unit, this one includes a balcony, but continuous one- way-mirror windows surrounding the exterior create a penthouse-like feeling of openness. The overall impression contrasts with that of the under-eaves balcony below. In the evening, light from both units beautifully illuminates the building and enlivens the quiet streetscape.
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