SHIGA – A three-storey structure in Shiga, Japan, contains a private duplex home and public café, connected by one grand staircase.

Spanning 124-sq-m, the building is wrapped with a massive steel staircase that has been incorporated as part of the façade. The owners can enter their house at the second storey landing, or continue up to the third storey and small balcony.

‘The stairs are not only for vertical movement; they can be used as a continuous private outdoor space with different heights,’ say architects Fumiya Ogawa and Tomonobu Higashino of TOFU architects. They say the stairs are used as a laundry drying rack, a garden and by children as a playground.

Photos courtesy of Yohei Sasakura