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LEAF Awards 2013 Winner: M-apartment in Japan

Residential Building of the Year (Multiple Occupancy)
Shinichiro Iwata, Chiba, Japan

M-apartment comprises eight rooms for individuals along with private, small gardens and two small shops. This new, low-density one-storied architecture, which looks like several small houses, has enhanced the image of its residential setting. The shapes of the small dwelling units are complex and different.

Corridors or gardens exist between every room, but it is the former, which come together to form a grid, that is a significant feature of the site. Some corridors are used as common passages while others acts as sunrooms – ambiguous spaces in terms of whether they are outside or inside and private or semi-public – that are partitioned with a top light and glass doors. Personal belongings in the sunrooms are visually shared with inhabitants and pedestrians of the street, but the ‘glance, be glanced’ relationship occurs only when inhabitants cross the sunrooms, so their privacy is not disturbed. The intention is to inspire a new form of interaction via accidental and instantaneous communication, so adding to the charm of life.

Each high-ceilinged room is arranged between a sunroom and garden, allowing a breath of air to blow through it when the sunroom doors are opened.

Client: Keiko Miyama
Size of project: 338.28m²
Start date: July 2012
Completion date: March 2013

LEAF Awards jury statement

A project which successfully reinvents density in a residential setting, M-apartment is more than only a apartment, being a composition of eight rooms, small gardens and two small shops. Looking like several small houses, the shapes of the small dwelling units are complex and different, and the versatile language and strategy behind this scheme has clearly enhanced the quality of its setting.

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