Started in 2007 and completed in 2009 by Wiel Arets Architects, A’ House is a project of cultural, gallery, and office located in Japan. It is an idiosyncratic gallery-like space with 136 m2 in size nestled within the dense expanse of Tokyo. This compact live/work, gallery-like space consists of five horizontally divided spaces with an earthquake-proof and concrete structure.
There are five horizontally divided spaces inside the building and each of them is connected by a minuscule sculptural spiraling staircase, allowing for loft-like spaces within its intimate confines that given by the building’s footprint. The building facade is punctuated by oversized windows and each window is designed with two layers of glazing: one glazing is of the same relief glass that wraps the facade and another one is transparent.
These windows can be reconfigured countlessly to regulate the interior flow of daylight. The relief and transparent glass of the windows slides on tracks and extend to double each width for unobstructed views. These windows also extend to the floor, ensuring that the building can remain responsive to the surrounding street life.
When closed, these windows cloak the building within an iridescent texture. One of them slides open to reveal the kitchen and serves as the main entry on the ground floor. Each level in this building also has a different program that contains different spaces.
Attached to the master suite, there is a small terrace yet expansive relative to the size of the building. The northeastern wall of this terrace is composed of the same textured glazing that shields the windows without a layer of transparent glass behind it because this terrace is open to the exterior elements completely.
When retracted, stunning views toward the park can be seen clearly and when it is closed, the view is obstructed and giving privacy. The terrace’s southwestern wall is the pinnacle of the building’s textured facade where a cut is designed to introduce the interior daylight to the master suite of the building. This cut left a void in the terrace wall, creating an enveloping exterior space that roofed by the sky only.
A fold is also created along the southern facade due to the slender site of the building, angled so it retreats at ground level from the street-site boundary. It also provides enough space for a smart car. This building blends into its context and subtly bold when seen from distance.
When all windows are opened or when a combination of several are closed and open, this building is transformed to expose its kaleidoscopic qualities to the residents and neighborhood. This building is also composed of concrete and is earthquake-proof structurally in accordance with stringent local regulations.
A’ House Gallery
Photography: Wiel Arets Architects