NE apartment Apartment complex for motorbike enthusiasts
This 8-unit rental apartment house complex was designed to house motorcycle enthusiasts, with a built-in garage included in every unit.
The building is located on a flag-shaped plot near the apex of a triangular block, with a certain degree of open space toward the main road to the south.
The c-shaped design was a practical decision to allow the residents to access their apartments through a common alley that leads right to the center of the complex. The wall on the entrance side was curved to provide maximum space on the outside, while guaranteeing sufficient volume for each apartment unit and wall length to fit 8 entrance doors. The resulting little square avoids giving the impression of a narrow and dark dead end, and allows the residents to rotate their bikes easily. The walls separating each apartment unit were disposed in a radial pattern, each with a gentle curve that leads them to meet the external wall at a right angle. By connecting the angles of each room, the curved walls contribute to give the impression of a more spacious environment. The entire structure is designed as an extension of the road, smoothly following the movement of its residents as they drive through the alley, enter the central square, park their motorbike in the garage and move upstairs to their living quarters.
About the use of curved walls
The building is a reinforced concrete structure composed of seven walls and slabs. The main characteristic of the structure lies in the fact that the reinforced walls, composed of an in-plane rigid frame of columns and beams, were disposed in a radial pattern. The walls rely on the transfer of horizontal force from the slabs instead of using perpendicular beams. They are in fact vertical cantilevers fixed in the foundation of the building. Although the centrally-oriented radial displacement is vulnerable to rotational forces, the changing angles of each wall reinforce the structure's resistance. Because the structure of the building relies on the seven interior walls, the exterior wall was handled using a dry construction method. This allowed us to continue studying the emplacement and size of the wall openings in accordance with the uneven surroundings until the very last moment of the construction process. The functions of each wall are also enhanced by a clear division of their roles: structure and sound insulation for the interior walls, openings and thermal insulation for the exterior walls. Despite their curve, the interior walls always meet the outside wall at right angles, preventing the presence of sharp corners and thus improving livability. On the entrance side, each floor is fitted with a continuous strip of curved windows, with a comparatively wider opening on the second level. The orientation of each room was set to avoid a direct view of the opposite apartment. Combined with a double-paned window, this setting provides a peculiar feeling of privacy.
Text and images from AKIYOSHI TAKAGI ARCHITECTS