Biotope along the By-pass / Tanglad Cafe by ihrmk

A secure home and also a place of activity for aquatic life

Project Specs


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The house sits on a subdivided plot in the new residential area of the newly finished land rezoning project in front of the Komenoki station in Nisshin City, facing the busy by-pass which was widened to 30m as part of the rezoning project.

▼建筑外观,Exterior view © TAKAHASHI Nao



The challenge was how to establish the building façade against an open environment of newly developed land.

Similar to a river biotope that is both a secure home and a place of activity for aquatic life, we did not fully open the house towards the front road, nor totally closed it. By manipulating the boundaries, we hoped to create a three-dimensional space that connects to the planar surrounding and a humanly distance that comes in contact with the oversized, artificial place.

▼入口立面夜景,Entrance facade night view © TAKAHASHI Nao

▼入口路径,Entry way © TAKAHASHI Nao


1.5 stories of RC and Wooden frame


▼楼层轴测图,Axo © ihrmk

The site is on a stepped ground, elevated approximately 1m from the boundary of the front road. We decided to insert an RC building mass into the stepped ground like an animal burrow. The ground floor beam establishes a waist-high wall that extends out to the terrace of the 1st floor and surrounds this entire RC mass. On top, we assembled 1.5 stories of wooden frame, giving a soft rhythm in contrast to the hardness of RC structure.

▼钢筋混凝土材质的“洞穴” © TAKAHASHI Nao
The RC building mass, like an animal burrow

▼入口庭院,Entry yard © TAKAHASHI Nao

▼从庭院望向露台,View towards the terrace © TAKAHASHI Nao

▼从室内望向庭院,View to the yard from interior © TAKAHASHI Nao


The basement of the house is a café, and above the basement on the 1st and 2nd floors are the residential area. While the entrance and floor level between the café and living space are clearly divided, through the central atrium and the building’s stacked 1.5 stories of RC and wooden frame structure, the sense of presence between different levels could be felt.

▼居住空间位于二层和三层,On the 1st and 2nd floors are the residential area © TAKAHASHI Nao

▼通高的中庭空间,The central atrium © TAKAHASHI Nao


A Series of Small Spaces


In the café on the basement, we arranged an entrance and atrium like those seen in an urban hideaway at the end of a narrow alleyway, a terrace seating in the back of the atrium where comfortable wind flows through, and floor seating embedded in the ground.

▼露台座位,Terrace seating © TAKAHASHI Nao


On the 1st floor, entrance, decking passage, study space, dining to living space and south terrace are arranged around the central atrium, respectively. On the 2nd floor, private rooms (master bedroom and two children’s rooms) are arranged around the void above the dining space and the atrium, maintaining a moderate distance between each room. By three-dimensionally arranging small spaces around the central atrium, we challenged to create an ecosystem reminiscent to that of a river biotope.

▼二层楼梯,Staircase on the first floor © TAKAHASHI Nao

▼私人房间,Private rooms © TAKAHASHI Nao

▼平面图,Floor plans © ihrmk

General Information
Project name: Biotope along the By-pass / Tanglad Cafe
Architecture Firm: IHARA Masaki + IHARA Kayo / ihrmk
Contact e-mail:
Architecture Firm Instagram:
Engineering: MORIBE Yasushi/yAt (structural engineer)
Completion Year:2019
Gross Built Area: 68.63m2(Gross Floor Area: 163.00m2)
Project location: 5-10-2 Mita, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Photo credit:TAKAHASHI Nao

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