Rokko Housing One • Location: Kobe, Japan • Architect: Tadao Ando Built: 1983 • Units: 20 Notable: The nine-story landmark was built “into” its landscape—a 60-degree slope on the southern edge of the Rokko Mountains. The configuration takes advantage of the site’s natural constraints, resulting in more privacy and expansive views.
Isaiah King Rokko Housing One • Location: Kobe, Japan • Architect: Tadao Ando Built: 1983 • Units: 20 Notable: The nine-story landmark was built “into” its landscape—a 60-degree slope on the southern edge of the Rokko Mountains. The configuration takes advantage of the site’s natural constraints, resulting in more privacy and expansive views.

Rokko Housing One was one of the first projects I saw as an architecture student, and it was my first exposure to architect Tadao Ando and his use of concrete to create sensuous spaces out of an opaque material. His unique response to site, the counterpoint of geometry to the landscape, and the creation of public and private spaces through the massing of the units are all intriguing. What looks like a rigid grid actually provides a wide variety of living and open spaces. The configuration and stepping of the units provides for openness, while not sacrificing privacy.

—Mark C. Giles, principal, KKE Architects, Minneapolis