Apollo: Nord

Apollo architects reinterprets Alvar Aalto’s architectures in Northern Europe to solve the interior space of this Tokyo house with a complicated roof shape.

Apollo Architects & Associates, Nord, Mitaka city, Tokyo, Japan
Designed by Apollo Architects in Mitaka city, Tokyo, Nord is a house for a couple in their 40s for spending valuable time with their two daughters.
As a motif for the plan, the husband, who is a company owner, chose designs by Alvar Aalto and the small churches that are the heart and soul of people, of which he was influenced when he traveled Northern Europe. The living spaces are filled with the warmth of wood, which is somehow similar to idyllic scenery in Japan.
Apollo Architects & Associates, Nord, Mitaka city, Tokyo, Japan
Apollo Architects & Associates, Nord, Mitaka city, Tokyo, Japan

The site is flag-shaped (a rectangular site with a pole-like narrow path), and surrounded by neighboring houses from all directions. Due to the strictly regulated setback from three directions, the house has an interior space with a complicated roof shape. A large bedroom for the family, storage spaces, a kitchen, and bathrooms are compactly arranged on the first floor, while an expansive open-plan space is placed on the second floor, where all the family members can spend relaxing time.

The roof is designed with exposed rafters, which consist of pairs of SPF lumber. Taking advantage of the steep angle, the dynamic sloped ceiling provides the space with expressions of both fineness and boldness.

Apollo Architects & Associates, Nord, Mitaka city, Tokyo, Japan
Apollo Architects & Associates, Nord, Mitaka city, Tokyo, Japan

Diffused light from a narrow skylight on the north side softly passes through louvered rafters, enclosing the living/dining room with steady natural light. The small loft space above the open ceiling loosely confronts the second floor, and unfolds as a compact but comfortable kids’ room that resembles a tree house.

At night, cove lighting illuminates the rafters and creates a dramatic expression unlike that of daytime. Use of steel frames for gable beams increase the sharp expression. The loft is intentionally designed without walls. Instead, handrails hang from the ceiling in order to create a space with a unique floating feeling.


Nord, Mitaka city, Tokyo, Japan
Program : Single-family house
Architects : Apollo Architects & Associates (Satoshi Kurosaki)
Structure engineers : Masaki Structures
Facility engineers : Naoki Matsumoto
Construction : Yamazen Kensetsu
Area : 52.42 sqm
Completion : March 2015

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