ISSUE 35  |  The Organized Life

Architect Visit: K2YT’s Indoor Garden House in Tokyo

September 02, 2014 10:00 AM

BY Jeanne Rostaing

The house must be a startling sight to passersby in this busy residential Tokyo neighborhood. On streets where houses typically are shrouded in curtains and awnings for privacy and relief from noise, there suddenly appears a home where the windows are not only uncovered, some also are lush with greenery.

It’s an unusual sight because, as much as the Japanese love their gardens, there is little room for them in this crowded city of 13 million people. Houses are often built to the limits of the lot, eliminating any opportunity to provide outdoor space for growing things. One Tokyo architecture firm solved that problem by bringing gardens inside.

K2YT Architects created a two-family house with five interior garden rooms that provide a view of trees and shrubs from inside the house as well as natural light and insulation from the urban cacophony of a big city. The building sits on a corner property that presented a number of challenges, including traffic noise from frontages on two busy streets and a location adjacent to an elevated commuter railroad.  The architects wanted to minimize the sounds of the cars and trains inside the house as well as increase the privacy of the residents.

Photographs by Satoshi Asakawa courtesy of K2YT Architects.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: House K—the Indoor Garden House—is a 3,000-square-foot home in a crowded Tokyo neighborhood.


Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden rooms
Above: A small grove of trees in an upper level courtyard gets light from windows and above in House K.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: The stark gray exterior of the house is dotted with an asymmetrical arrangement of three sizes of square openings for windows and gardens.  The front door to the house is next to the entrance to an underground garage.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: A grand staircase made of folded steel is cantilevered out from the wall and seems to float in space.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: Each of the four floors of the house is divided into six equal areas, one of which contains the stairwell.  The other spaces are either rooms or gardens.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: Rooms flow directly into each other, eliminating the need for hallways and helping to keep the interior full of light.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: The natural concrete walls are softened by the warmth of wood floors.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: The first floor contains one of the two kitchens and living space. The other kitchen is on the second floor. Bathrooms are on the first and third floors, bedrooms on the upper three floors.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: Glass walls provide residents with views of the gardens and natural light.

Tokyo’s K2YT Architects created this Indoor Garden House for 2 families with five interior garden roomsAbove: By bringing terraces filled with greenery within the walls of the house, the architects have created a special environment.  Even though they are in a congested urban setting, the residents of House K can see gardens from every room of their home and feel that they are in the midst of nature.

For another house that relates to the outdoors in an unusual way, check out our post on An Indoor Outdoor House in Australia.