Houzz Tour: A Contemporary City Home With a Clever Rooftop Terrace
After their children flew the nest, this couple rebuilt their house with a distinctive roof cutout to ensure both freedom and privacy
Luckily, through a friend, the owners met a pair of architects who created a house that fulfilled their wish. The house now has an idyllic terrace where the couple can enjoy the sunshine and eat meals outside in good weather without ever worrying about being overlooked.
Who lives here A couple in their 50s
Property A newly rebuilt timber home
Size 211 sq m (2,272 sq ft)
Location Setagaya Ward, Tokyo
Architect Yo Yamagata Architects (designed in collaboration with Kazunobu Hamazaki of And Associates)
Structural design Sakane
Structural design builder Hatano
Date completed October 2014
Photos by Forward Stroke inc
The house these owners had inherited from one of their fathers was getting old, and the kids had left the nest, so the couple decided to build a new house where they could be alone together.
Referring to the theme of the design, Yoh Yamagata of Hiroshi Yamagata Architects says, “The idea was to create a contrast between the ground- and first-floor spaces.” He exchanged ideas with the builder, Kazunobu Hamazaki of And Associates.
Simply put, the ground floor has a feeling of being closed off from the world, while the first floor offers a sense of freedom and space. The ground floor is a half basement sunk about five feet into the ground to offer peace and quiet. The bedrooms and study are located here, in an arrangement that allows the owners to move easily from room to room.
In contrast, the first floor is a simple box, with the living room and bathroom facing out onto the terrace.
This image shows the view from the southwest side. In front is a green space, and a slope down to the windows of the master bedroom on the ground floor gives the owners a view of the greenery from inside. The low trees planted within the property line are common ruscus-leaved bamboo, which stays beautifully green all winter.
The other special feature of this terrace is the 1.5m-wide FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) grating that was used for the floor bordering the outer wall. The husband works for a large grating manufacturer, and made use of the grating in his own home. The grating is made from FRP resin, formed into a lattice shape. It’s lighter and more durable than steel, and allows air and light to pass through – a special selling point, since it lets sunlight fall onto the garden in front of the lower level.
Peeking out from the corner of the terrace is a long-stalk holly tree, which keeps its leaves year-round. When the breeze blows through the leaves, they make a soft rushing sound.
The living room has a large modular sofa. To the left is a built-in storage shelf.
Sofa; coffee table, both Actus.
Dining table and chairs, Actus.
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The outer wall of the second level is made of Galvalume steel spandrel. Spandrel is metal veneer formed to hide the screws that hold it in place, but not only does it hide the seams between plates, as a design feature, it breaks up the monotony of the walls, adding to the beauty of the building.
The scenic location of the house ensures a livable environment, and not only does the triangular cutout offer a unique view from the inside, it also looks striking from the outside. If you visit after dark, you can see how the lights inside reflect on the white walls, and the whole building seems to float like a giant lantern on a pool of green.
What do you think of this cleverly designed home? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.