Grace by Apollo Architects & Associates
Grace is modern residence located in Mitaka-shi, Japan, designed in 2021 by Apollo Architects & Associates.
This small wood-framed residence for a family of three takes advantage of the riverside views from its lot on the outskirts of Tokyo. Designed to cater to a work-from-home lifestyle, 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.
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. In contrast to private areas such as the master bedroom and child’s bedroom on the first floor, the second floor consists of a single open room. The front balcony, a glassed-in intermediary space with deep eaves, 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, while the one-way glass blocks visibility from the road but lets in natural scenery, resulting in a uniquely 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. 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.
Photography by Masao Nishikawa