In 1958, Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake (1928-2011) completed the Sky House, a visionary residence that he designed and built for himself. Perched atop a hill in Tokyo, the Sky House remains a landmark of Kikutake’s enduring architectural convictions and a symbol of his innovative approach to design. The house’s futuristic and minimalistic aesthetic, featuring an elevated concrete platform and a cantilevered roof, challenges traditional notions of domestic architecture and blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces.
Sky House Technical Information
- Architects: Kiyonori Kikutake
- Location: Tokyo, Japan
- Area: 55 sqm
- Topics: Houses, Concrete, Japanese Houses, Metabolism
- Project year: 1958
- Photographs: © Archives of Kiyonori Kikutake, © Iwan Baan
Contrary to the architecture of the past, contemporary architecture must be capable of responding to the changing needs of the contemporary era.– Kiyonori Kikutake2
Sky House by Kiyonori Kikutake Photographs
Sky House: Kiyonori Kikutake’s Visionary Architectural Landmark
Sky House was designed and built by the Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake (1928-2011) for himself in 1958. The project still stands out as a landmark of his long-lasting architectural convictions. A founding individual of the Metabolist movement, Kikutake established the framework for structural planning and new models of urban communities. His Sky-House is a high single volume that exemplifies both these essential standards on a local scale.
The house comprises a single 10x10m concrete slab raised on 4,5 m high wharves situated on every side’s central ax, with a specific purpose to free the corners. The piers additionally support the concrete rooftop. The architect’s refusal of functionalism is shown in a flexible, open floor arrangement with a focal living space and benefit regions on the sides, which reviews traditional Japanese interiors.
Kikutake always alluded to his biography, which crosses the historical backdrop of Japan to clarify his elaboration of the Metabolist’s standards. Child of a well-off group of proprietors, he was 17 when the war finished, and his family was suddenly poor after post-war changes. In the aftermath of the war, the Metabolists began to propose flexible structures in an outline state of mind that required structures to adjust to the changeability of things.
The sky-house applies this standard on a small scale, tending to the variability inherent in a single family. The first expansion to the fundamental volume was the kid’s room, a small space plugged under the floor (a “move-net,” as the planner likes to call it), which was removed when the kids moved away. Over 50 years, some changes were made to the Sky-house; some enhanced the building, and some irremediably modified the house’s principles.
Sky House Interior Photographs
Sky House by Kiyonori Kikutake Plans
Sky House by Kiyonori Kikutake Gallery
About Kiyonori Kikutake
Kiyonori Kikutake (1928-2011) was a Japanese architect and one of the founding members of the Metabolist movement, which emerged in the 1960s as a response to the rapid urbanization and industrialization of post-war Japan. Kikutake was known for his futuristic and visionary designs that challenged traditional notions of architecture and explored new possibilities for living spaces. His most famous works include the Sky House, Marine City, and the Tokuunin House. Kikutake’s legacy as an architect and educator continues to inspire and influence generations of architects and designers around the world. He was also the tutor and employer of several prominent Japanese architects, such as Toyo Ito, Shōzō Uchii, and Itsuko Hasegawa.
- More information about the project in Japan Architect, ‘JA73 Spring 2009, Renovation: Beyond Metabolism’, p.21-22.
- Between Land and Sea Works of Kiyonori Kikutake by Ken Oshima