Double Helix House – A Tokyo Family Build Upwards to Create their Home

This family home in Japan has been set on a small site that encouraged the designers to built upwards. Located in the district of Taito in Tokyo, the area is known for its many old wooden houses and historical temples. The architects have attempted to capture and recreate some of this atmosphere with this modern home.


Double Helix House - Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects - Tokyo - Exterior - Humble Homes

The building has been designed by a local firm called Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects. The project was completed in 2011 and is now home to a growing family. Without any direct access to the street, the house “looks like a secret garden” and is accessed by an enclosed “alleyway”.


Double Helix House - Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects - Tokyo - Shelving Books - Humble Homes

Titled the “Double Helix House” because of its spiralling staircase, the property features four levels giving it a total floor area of 947 square feet (88 square meters). From the architects: “There are 2 simple elements, a white core and an alley-like corridor winding up around it.”


Double Helix House - Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects - Tokyo - Staircase - Humble Homes

The “white core” is responsible for housing the living areas. The first level contains a kitchen and dining area and connects to the entrance corridor. The next level up features bedroom with a series of built in closets. Throughout each level a small exterior deck is etched out from the staircase.

Double Helix House - Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects - Tokyo - Living Area - Humble Homes

The third floor features a living room with a cozy bathroom and a daybed. The daybed actually forms part of the spiralling staircase, leading up to the final floor – the rooftop terrace. Throughout its height the staircase has been used to create smaller spaces, like a library and study area.

Double Helix House - Onishimaki + Hyakudayuki Architects - Tokyo - Foor Plan - Humble Homes

Large windows are used throughout, helping to maintain a light and airy atmosphere. From the architects: “The composition of this house is quite simple, however once you step inside, you can feel its lightness, darkness, narrowness, width and even the speed of your step.”

For more Japanese houses check out this family home with a treehouse for an attic. Or, Little House Big Terrace, which places emphasis on exterior spaces. See all Japanese houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Kai Nakamura

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. Interesting but 2 problems, need railings on all stairs both sides and 2nd too much brown. How long are the stairs because if the lady of the house is pregnant, she will be having problems go up and down stairs before and after birth. Do they have animals?