Natural Ellipse House

Yet another work of modern Japanese architecture is a Tokyo house that looks like an egg with a hole at the top. It was conceived by two architects, Masaki Endoh and Masahiro Ikeda. Both of these architects are little known outside of Japan, but the building I want to write about today was awarded Rookie of the Year 2003 by The Japan Institute of Architects.

It’s called Natural Ellipse House and it was a built as a four story apartment building of sorts. There were just two apartments, each taking up two stories, and the basement was shared.

I’m using the past tense, because it seems the building is not occupied by the original client anymore. Instead it is used as a hotel! That means that if you’re looking for a memorable place to stay in Tokyo, Natural Ellipse House is one option.

But be warned—there are no dividing walls, just load-bearing walls. So no secluded bathrooms, with the toilet/shower in the same room as the kitchen counter.

The house is really located in the heart of Tokyo. The city lives 24/7 here. That’s the reason for the “cocoon” exterior and very few windows—the house had to be well insulated from the light, hustle and bustle.

From the book 21st Century House by Jonathan Bell.

Fig. 8: Section: a spiral staircase runs up the center of the house in the space created by the ring of ellipses
Fig. 9: The houses’s unconventional floor plan revealed – basement (top left), ground floor (top right), first floor (middle left), second floor (middle right), third floor (bottom left), roof (bottom right): [A] living room, [B] bedroom, [C] kitchen, [D] studio.

Masaki Endou designed a series of Natural houses. There are over ten of them, but his website is pretty hard to navigate. Nevertheless, if you’re interested, look under the last source link and try to figure it out.


Natural Ellipse House at ArchiTravel
Natural Ellipse at Booking.com
Preview of the book 21st Century House by Jonathan Bell at Google Books
Ellipse House at Endoh Design House (website of Masaki Endoh’s company)

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