located on the outskirts of tokyo, ‘grace’ by apollo architects and associates is a small, wood-framed residence for a family of three. the two-story home encloses private areas, such as the master bedroom and child’s bedroom, on the ground level, while the upper floor features an open plan space, topped by a gable roof with exposed rafters. the front balcony, a glassed-in intermediary space with deep eaves, lets riverside views inside while blocking visibility from the road thanks to one-way glass.
all images by masao nishikawa
led by satoshi kurosaki, apollo architects & associates designed ‘grace’ to cater to a work-from-home lifestyle. ‘a key design challenge was assimilating contradictory elements such as work/leisure, interior/exterior, and private/public in order to achieve that harmonious lifestyle within a limited space,’ notes the tokyo-based studio. the storage, kitchen appliances, and other functional features are built into the walls to enhance unity and continuity in the long, narrow space. the result is a home where daily life coexists comfortably with work.
the glassed-in balcony that fronts the property on the upper level plays an especially important role in transitioning between work and leisure. the furniture on the balcony has a similar aesthetic to that inside the house, which creates a sense of continuity. at the same time, its one-way glass blocks visibility from the road but lets in the natural scenery, creating a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere.
‘enclosing all functional elements within wall storage units allowed us to eliminate the visual noise of excess objects and enhance concentration on work,’ adds apollo architects. ‘meanwhile, the exposed rafters of the gable roof with indirect lighting set into them make this second-floor space both unusual and relaxing. perhaps this design approach, which takes smallness not as a minus but as a plus in terms of coziness and comfort, will be even more sought after in the post-COVID 19 era.’