Among the highrise block apartments of dense tokyo, airscape architects have designed a home that honors the former presence of zelkova trees on the urban site. While one of the elegant elms remains on the southern part of the property, the ‘hachioji tree house’ seeks to be a concrete grove in the cityscape, using the built form to abstract the natural lines of a tree-filled plot. Geometric slabs of reinforced concrete create a layer of cool-hued pilasters atop which are the volumes of the home while the spaces below the hovering masses serve as a visual filter and parking space.
The effect of the structural slabs is also optical, helping to both obliterate parts of the urban fabric and reframe view of fledgling trees. Double height spaces vary to make the abstracted urban grove a dwelling characterized by slivers of light and angled apertures. The streamlined formal language of the concrete tree trunk continues on the interiors, becoming jaunty shelving units, program partitions and compositions of glazing and mass. Diffused light retains the dematerialized quality of a natural canopy with a series of clerestories and shapely subtractions.