Where Artists Can Live in Their Studios: Yokohama Apartment by ON Design

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If this doesn’t look like an ordinary apartment to you — you’re right; it’s not. It’s a residential complex in Japan by ON Design Partners at the top of a hill, in a neighborhood of narrow roads surrounded by clusters of smaller wooden houses. And it’s a space designed for unique uses: the courtyard is both studio and gallery, a space for young artists to create and display their works while the apartments are four one-room private spaces called “huts.” It’s a structure of pristine white, just like a canvas; it’s a place with external staircases, rooftop observation decks, and soaring internal ceilings. This leads to an interesting juxtaposition of compact quarters versus the “feeling” of expansive volume.

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As the architects explain, “We thought that by providing a semi-public courtyard for exhibition and work and huts for living, the place would become an environment where people can find places and ways to use [them] according to the conditions.” Sometimes, those conditions need a kitchen, as shown in one corner; sometimes, they require storage — so there’s plenty tucked away for each “hut” occupant. There are colorful tables and chairs set up for common meals, should the artists want them; and there are informal “gardens” of green plants both in corners and even up one staircase. It’s a creative domain with a difference: artists frequently feel like they’re living in their studios, especially where space is at a premium. In this creative Yokohama apartment, they can do just that.

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