An Apartment for Motorcycles
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
By Gem Barton
Photos by Hiroyasu Sakaguchi
Some of us dream of designing a home centered around a generous walk in wardrobe to house our designer goods. The rest of us want to live in close proximity to our grown-up toys.
The Japanese are renowned for their efficient space saving solutions. On a tight plot in Suginami, Tokyo, a 3-story, 8-unit apartment building, the NE Building, was proposed to take care of the latter group of grown-ups. The standard parking bay (approx. 2.4m x 4.8m in Japan) would have hogged too much space for car parking. So, the collaborative team of Japanese architects Yuji Nakae, Hirofumi Ohno and Akiyoshi Takagi got clever.
The NE building is designed exclusively for motorcyclists. Calculated precisely around the turning circle of your above average motorcycle, the apartments hug a curved central courtyard where you can drive your machine into your downstairs entrance-come-bathroom-come-garage to park up for the night.
The building’s entire load is supported on internal walls that free up the curved facade for vast expanses of uninterrupted glazing. Internally, exposed concrete is the order of the day, perhaps in keeping with the parking lot vibe but most likely due to its thermal properties.
I’m not sure such a niche-based design would have won the backing of any dragons but this residential block gets the thumbs up from us, and probably anybody who has ever been on a motorcycle, low rider, scooter or skateboard.