28th Shinkenchiku Award Finalist 2: Double Helix House

JA+U : Double Helix House by onishimaki + hyakudayuki architects / o+h © Shinkenchiku-sha

The house is located on a site in Tokyo which is only accessible via two narrow alleyways. A long corridor/stairway spirals up the outside of the house. The exterior stair winds its way upward atop the internal stair, creating a parallel vertical route outside the home.

JA+U : Double Helix House by onishimaki + hyakudayuki architects / o+h © Shinkenchiku-sha

The architect Maki Onishi explained to the jurors that they imaged these two alleys wrapping around the core of the house, mixing circulation spaces – she calls the stairways “tubes” – with the living spaces within the core.

JA+U : Double Helix House by onishimaki + hyakudayuki architects / o+h © Shinkenchiku-sha

The architects’ decision to dedicate generous floor space to circulation – despite the limited size of the house – was praised by the jurors for its boldness. The residents are able to use this spiraling space for activities such as reading, playtime, or simply relaxing.

JA+U : Double Helix House by onishimaki + hyakudayuki architects / o+h © Shinkenchiku-sha

The jurors believe that the openness of the residents’ activities to their surroundings, especially along the exterior staircase, and the relationship with the streetscape can define a new residential typology.