It’s almost hard to believe that this M.C. Escher-like residential building in Tokyo is actually real. Designed by local architect Akihisa Hirata, “Tree-ness House,” as it’s dubbed, rises on a narrow but deep site in the district of Otsuka, reaching upward and outward toward the sky by way of protruding volumes, staircases, and terraces.
The concrete apartment features a facade that is notched with asymmetrical window boxes that appear to be folded, whose pleats and voids create built-in planters and terraces for greenery. Other volumes establish outdoor staircases that provide access to another level or to the roof.
This program allows for a unique system of indoor-outdoor living, one that is “tangled,” as the architect notes. Layered like the parts of a tree, the interiors are similarly dynamic, with staggered floors, a central atrium, glass walls, and planters. Tree-ness House calls to mind the Bosco Verticale, or “Vertical Forest” in Milan, albeit in miniature.
“It is possible to create an architectural logic that creates a similar organically layered and “tangled” structure,” the practice said. “The design seeks to develop this new architectural principle, with the intention of creating a complex ecosystem connected to the city.” Have a look at these photos by Vincent Hecht.