This single-family home is a gorgeous verdant garden sanctuary in the heart of Tokyo. The building, designed by Ryue Nishiziwa, sits on a narrow lot and has an open floor plan with virtually no interior walls. A winding staircase curves through every floor, supporting the vines and lush plant life as they grow upwards through to the roof. Daylight floods the interior, nourishing perennial shoots and shrubs, and providing natural light to enhance zen-like contemplation and encourage peaceful respite.
Instead of a true facade, full-height windows, curtains, benches, and planters separate rooms and amenities. A living room and kitchen occupy the ground floor. Ascending the painted steel staircase leads to a first-floor bedroom, second-floor bedroom and bathroom, and up to the roof-terrace with an extra room for guests or storage (probably a good place for all the gardening tools). A thin layer of soil in the upper rooms creates cohesion and illuminates the architect’s vision of a seamless indoors-outdoors experience. The home is minimally furnished, but bursts with plants of every genus and species.
Wedged between two tall buildings and exploding with greenery, it would be easy to mistake this beautiful single-family home for a mysterious vertical garden. The open structure contrasts with Tokyo’s booming metropolis and stands as a reminder that urban density doesn’t have to mean sacrificing clean breathable air and open space.
Ryue Nishiziwa is a Pritzker Prize winner whose architectural expressions include meditations on natural space like the Teshima Art Museum, Love Planet Museum, and a handful of Japanese apartment buildings.