Zet Minamiaoyama is a minimal home located in Tokyo, Japan, designed by Torafu Architects. The project is a construction plan of a building for rent, which is located in the quiet area behind Aoyama street, in Minami Aoyama, Tokyo. The rectangular building is situated in a 175m2 corner lot. It has two underground levels and two aboveground floors, two entrances utilizing height difference, and enough area to accommodate four tenants. While making a presence as a landmark to the building, the impression of the space was created to be neutral enough to welcome tenants with a variety of styles and from a variety of industries. Generally, the size of the floor area is key to the evaluation of a building for rent, for this building, vast high-ceilings spaces filled with plenty of natural light gives another criterion to evaluate the value of the building aside from just floor area.
The front side facing the busy street has large openings utilizing 4m-high ceilings, and the side facing the alley has small windows creating an illusion that makes people misunderstand the number of floors in the building. Among the houses and shops with the same height, the facade highlights a gap in the sense of scale. The large and small windows function well corresponding to the styles and industries of the tenants, they function as display windows by bringing the inside atmosphere to the outside, and they also function as window seats in restaurants. The platform generated from height difference turns to be a bench in front of the large window on the first floor. The seat connects the building to the public.
The windows capture the scenes of people walking down the street and sky cut into the large frame even though the building is located in the very center of a big city. The smooth concrete finished mold around the windows, contrasted with the rough exterior wall of washing-finished concrete and the interior lauan form concrete wall, enhances the function of framing. The renovation-like method, which follows an image of cutting out the openings to an existing body, is simple, but it draws in the ever-changing light, providing a vibrant expression to the RC building.
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