A solar farm across the roof of this four-story building (including basement lofts) provides power to all the common areas for the 22-unit structure. Power generation at any given time is displayed on a monitor prominently located in the lobby, with simple graphics that underscore, for both residents and visitors, the effort made to minimize dependence on the grid and maximize the benefits of natural energy. Hallways and corridors are illuminated with natural light, and though enclosed and weather protected allow for natural airflow and circulation for comfort and convenience.

Project Type: Condominium

Completion: June 2008 - March 2009

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A solar farm across the roof of this four-story building (including basement lofts) provides power to all the common areas for the 22-unit structure. Power generation at any given time is displayed on a monitor
prominently located in the lobby, with simple graphics that underscore, for both residents and visitors, the effort made to minimize dependence on the grid and maximize the benefits of natural energy. Hallways and corridors are illuminated with natural light, and though enclosed and weather protected allow for natural airflow and circulation for comfort and convenience.
 
2-level loft apartments have private gardens off the living-dining rooms at basement level. White walls that reflect daylight into the abundantly glazed, double-height living areas enclose each garden.
 
Upper level units have their mechanical plant and emergency ladders concealed behind removable panels on the balconies. These panels have a matrix of openings of various diameters to allow inspection and adjustment of equipment, while providing a streamlined form to the projecting concrete fins, which separate each unit. These fins are tapered for architectural drama, but also to optimize access to daylight and to frame exterior views.
 
The top most level units have uncharacteristically high ceilings for this class of accommodation, made possible by exposing the raked concrete roof slab that has deep insulation on its upper side.
 
Attention is called to a large common bicycle room, wrapped in wood cladding to elevate the value of this method of transportation. The goal was to create elegant, contemporary and iconic architecture on a very tight budget as these rental apartments are intended to be affordable by Japanese standards. This goal was largely achieved by strategic use of structural elements for the visual composition, avoiding decorative additions and finishes and employing natural energy initiatives to minimize running costs.
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Meguro, Tokyo

Palatine Residences