Checkmate in Tokyo

Checkmate in Tokyo


For a gap between buildings in Tokyo, Apollo Architects designed a monolith that uses the tiny property intelligently.

In the centre of Tokyo, new buildings and old ones are strung together.  Old dwelling houses and small shops are pressed up against spacious tenements. Land is precious, so every square metre is exploited.

For a corner property of only 30 square metres, the team of Apollo Architects designed a striking building. The contractor inherited from his father two adjacent tenements in the city centre of Tokyo. He hired the office of Apollo Architects to rebuild one of the houses as a five-storied residential- and commercial property.  Thereupon, the architects replaced the old existing building with an impressive, monolithic building. For this, they skilfully made use of the characteristic corner position of the building site at an intersection. The new building is called Damier.

Clear Lines

The floor plan adjusts with its pentagonal shape to the property. The first two floors offer renting spaces for companies and living. The rental income is a secure source of income for the owner. Additionally, the rooms serve as a border between public and private. The upper three floors serve as living space for the owner. A filigree spiral staircase of white steel connects the floors with each other. The interior is clearly structured. In the living areas, there are dark, warm wooden floors contrasting the cool white walls and ceilings of smooth exposed concrete. The kitchen furniture of the same wood seem to grow out of the floor. The rooms at the ground floor, however, are entirely made of exposed concrete and, thus, appear functional. The walls of reinforced concrete are particularly thin, so the limited base area can be used optimally.

Chessboard Façade

The name Damier is the French term for chessboard and refers to the chessboard-like arrangement of the façade. Large window apertures alternate with massive concrete slabs. By their black colour, the frames emphasize the bright concrete, and, thus, become a graphic element. The anchor holes in the concrete have been left visible. They give a plastic structure to the otherwise simply designed façade.

The design makes use of only few architectonic elements, thus, the concept seems very clear.

Like a monolith, the Damier positions itself in a gap between two existing buildings. A joint on both sides makes the structure clearly stand out. Yet, it fits into its environment by means of its colours.

Project details


Apollo Architects


Fertiggestellt: Dezember 2009


Grundstücksgröße: 32,16 m²

BGF: 114,55 m²


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Betty Bonino 14. June 2013 - 13:57


Laura Pena 14. June 2013 - 17:17


Su Pereira 14. June 2013 - 19:45

Mano, curte esse lance de mudar o visual do face, ficou muito legal mesmo, ve aqui: