Based in Tokyo, Japan, Apollo Architects & Associates was established in the year 2000 by Satoshi Kurosaki with a vision of spawning ‘a rich spirituality’ within a space yet keeping it impervious and utilitarian. Named after Apollo, the God of Sun and light of the Greco-Roman mythology, the firm aims at going beyond the basic necessities of design and incorporating simple elements of light and shadow in improved yet functional circumstances, unaffecting the flow of time so that the users can connect to the spaces and relish everything to their heart’s content; something that architects strive to achieve has become a piece of cake for Apollo!
Specializing in creating bespoke residences in its home country, here are 15 iconic projects by APOLLO Architects & Associates that every architect should know!
1. SCAPE House in Yamagata Prefecture
A dwelling for a pediatrician and his family in a region of heavy snowfall, the house with a rock garden showcases a distinctive massive concrete facade which aids in exterior insulation by maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature during winter. Flaunting beautiful brise-soleils and large wood-framed windows, the voids and the masses created in the design playfully interact with each other giving a sense of tranquility to the design.
2. ARK in Mitaka
A house for a working couple in the quiet residential area of Tokyo, ARK named after ‘‘Noah’s Ark’’ flaunts its boxed volume exhibiting an open environment yet unveiling privacy by providing both of the users their personal working dens, creating a world of its own. The open atmosphere within the house conceals a sense of enclosure yet the louver boards on the facade give privacy from anyone passing through the front street.
3. Ortho House
Located in the quiet suburban region of Kanto, this ranch-style residence flaunts courtyards and a huge terrace garden where users can savor nature as well as maintain privacy. The best part of the dwelling is the architects take on light and shadow making the design speak for itself.
4. GAZE in Obu
The reason why GAZE becomes a project of significant value is its uniqueness – a dwelling merged with a gallery space for exhibiting the contemporary art collection of the client. A hybrid structure, the building shows simplicity in its form but unique in functionality with the provision of turning the living space into a gallery if necessary.
5. RHYTHM House
This double family dwelling in Tokyo showcases ‘a rhythmically and holistically integrated facade that suits the characteristics of each household’. The central courtyard creates a separation of the front and inner spaces keeping the design incorporated yet enhancing privacy. The most striking feature of the design is the ceiling high atrium on the second floor which becomes a big source of natural light via the skylights used.
6. ARROW House
This unique SOHO House in Tokyo has a photo studio on the first floor while the main entrance to the living space is via the second floor. “The pitched roof formed by the regulation on the north side creates a unique exterior and interior appearance. Light from the slit-shaped skylight on the peak of the roof casts dramatic shadows in the entirely white-colored room. An unblocked sky view from the skylight also has the effect of making one forget that the house is in a densely populated residential area.” said Satoshi.
7. Calm house in Tokyo
The name of the dwelling might have come from the serene facade of the house. In an attempt to merge the interior and exterior elements with each other in intermediate zones, the warm welcoming hospitality of the Japanese culture has been reflected here keeping in mind both privacy and access. The most attractive feature of the house is the stainless steel louvers covering the second-floor window which provides a sharp contrast to the monotonous concrete facade of the house!
8. Mutan Gallery Shop
One of the non-residential projects of Apollo, this is a gallery space for Kutani ware from the Kinzangama kiln. The main vision that the architect wanted to incorporate was the linkage of the traditional process and express them in works for the present era.
9. Cover in Fuchu
Located in a high-density residential district of a suburb of Tokyo, this dwelling stands out for its enormous opening in the roof which provides abundant sunlight and “makes the compact space feel more expansive.” The courtyard-like plan gives privacy as well as breaks the sense of monotony.
10. WRAP House
A residence on a hilltop of Matsuyama for a graphic designer is supposed to be unique and artistic! Designed with sculptural staircases and column-free shell-like structures the dwelling flaunts its antiquity and showcases its ‘airiness and openness’.
11. Le 49
A dwelling with lush green surroundings overlooking the Sagami Bay this residence boasts about its modern influence along with its traditional Japanese aesthetics. The most prominent feature of the house is the triangular pilotis at the entrance to the house which gives a beautiful and serene view of the ocean.
12. Pergola House
As by the name of the house, the most visible element of the dwelling is the architect’s outlook on the pergola and how he merged the interiors of the house with the exterior by extending wooden ceiling rafters and using them as a pergola and also as a shading device!
Can monotony amuse us? The answer should definitely be a yes! This dwelling for single residents strikes out because of its unique facade which is entirely covered by wooden louvers. “The upper floor has a stereoscopic composition via a split level with an open ceiling. Sunlight showers down from the penthouse and fills the enclosed small area, and casts deep shadows in the brutal space.” – said Satoshi.
14. Cave Residence
A house for a single person in Kagurazaka, Tokyo, the most striking feature is the exterior walls; they use dark brown Galvalume steel in a lengthwise, lateral direction, in order to blend into the atmosphere of fleshpots surrounded with blackboard fences.
15. Cadre House
Located in an earthquake-prone zone, this residence features reinforced concrete structures to withstand the impact of a large earthquake. To adapt to the heavy snowfall in the region, the architect has also used snow eaves and brise-soleils to regulate the amount of sunlight that enters the house.