This site is three times as long as it is wide, which is common in highly dense, urban Japan. Obeying client wishes of “living with nature,” Shigeru Ban blends house and garden. Ban borrows from traditional Kyoto-style machiya or town house, which is essentially a string of rooms interspersed with a garden or two. Limited by the site Ban establishes a checkered grid, allowing gardens to divide each space. There are three interior gardens and a back garden. These gardens are enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass and aluminum shutters that can be entirely stacked and stowed above the ceiling when weather permits, using the same technology as airplane hangars and garage doors.
Ban incorporates his version of the Japanese “Universal Floor” concept. In traditional Japanese homes sliding screen panels temporarily divide the space, and the common area is bound by the eaves. In Ban’s version the shutters can open entirely to unify the spaces.
The rooms’ are organized from public to progressively private. Upon entry the first courtyard poses a transition between home and office, stairs lead down to the basement office and studio or up to the double height living room. The living room is followed by the dining room, then kitchen, and finally the master bedroom, surrounded by three gardens. The kids’ bedrooms are above the master and are also encompassed by a green, airy atmosphere.