Coil House – A Tokyo Home with 44 Levels and 941-Square-Feet

With 44 levels you’d expect this house to contain more than just 921-square-feet. Akihisa Hirata’s Coil House from Tokyo is composed entirely from steps – 44 of them to be precise. The treads vary in width and height throughout the home, sometimes expanding to create living spaces, or shrinking to create circulation.

Coil house is set in a quiet residential neighborhood in Tokyo and was designed for Sakura and Ryo Sugiura and their two children.

coil house - akihisa hirata - tokyo - staircase and entrance - designfutz

The continuous winding staircase takes you from the entrance, through the home’s various living areas to the kitchen and dining area at the top. The house is set on a small awkward site measuring 15-by-47 feet. Tokyo is notorious for such plots of land, so much so, that they’re referred to as “eel’s nests” by the locals.

coil house - akihisa hirata - tokyo - staircase from above - designfutz

To make the most of their site, Hirata opted for an unusual approach, removing conventional walls and floors. Instead, he inserted three big columns to provide support for the staircase. The large landings act as rooms, while the changing levels remove the need for partitions and doors.

Big columns are uncommon in contemporary houses, but we needed them to anchor the treads. The winding of the stairs separates spaces. – Akihisa Hirata

Sizing the treads was a delicate balancing act. Hirata had to account for the building’s orientation and spacial dimensions, while also accommodating the owners furniture pieces and other possessions.

The depth of the treads ranges from two to five feet. The entrance to the first living area is flanked by a library composed of shelving along a side wall, dedicated to the owner’s, and the children’s, books. Some of the landings act as sleeping spaces during the night, at which point futons are taken out of storage and laid on the floor.

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee), Ryo says that the layout is perfect for their “futon lifestyle”.

coil house - akihisa hirata - tokyo - kitchen - designfutz

Photos © Akihisa Hirata Architecture Office

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