This site is located in a residential section of Setagaya which has been a residence for many years. The owner hoped to build apartment housing, so we decided to build a multi-story row house. Because the form of the site was an alley-like site (Flagstaff site), there were a multitude of local regulations that made construction challenging. For instance, regulations demanded that the width of the alley must be 2 meters, and that every dwelling be accessible from the ground. A wooden frame structure was chosen.
Building height was set at three stories because of a limit on the number of stories . The number of dwelling units was also decided, almost automatically, by considering the size of the site. The building has only four dwelling units, but we think that is a decent number given the size of the site.
Two of the four dwelling units serve as maisonettes. Although the design was affected by row house regulations, it was readily suitable that the private space and entrance space were separated. Moreover, the alley-like site gave sufficient distance to the project to divide a habitation space and a public space, and this distance played the role of buffer space between the two spaces.
Because the owner's habitation space was the third floor, the approach was made longer. To prevent this space from becoming dark and uncomfortable, we planned a spot garden which can be seen from the entrance on the first floor, and a big FIX window to be able to get enough light on the third floor. Each story landing has an opening so that ventilation can be obtained, and the stairs are open so that light and air can pass through.
We believe that we were able to apply various creative measures to this project so that each dwelling unit could be provided with comfortable, if limited, space.