If this doesn’t look like an ordinary apartment to you — you’re right; it’s not. It’s a residential complex in Japan by ON Design Partners at the top of a hill, in a neighborhood of narrow roads surrounded by clusters of smaller wooden houses. And it’s a space designed for unique uses: the courtyard is both studio and gallery, a space for young artists to create and display their works while the apartments are four one-room private spaces called “huts.” It’s a structure of pristine white, just like a canvas; it’s a place with external staircases, rooftop observation decks, and soaring internal ceilings. This leads to an interesting juxtaposition of compact quarters versus the “feeling” of expansive volume.
As the architects explain, “We thought that by providing a semi-public courtyard for exhibition and work and huts for living, the place would become an environment where people can find places and ways to use them according to the conditions.” Sometimes, those conditions need a kitchen, as shown in one corner; sometimes, they require storage — so there’s plenty tucked away for each “hut” occupant. There are colorful tables and chairs set up for common meals, should the artists want them; and there are informal “gardens” of green plants both in corners and even up one staircase. It’s a creative domain with a difference: artists frequently feel like they’re living in their studios, especially where space is at a premium. In this creative Yokohama apartment, they can do just that.