There’s an urban phenomenon known as “spite houses,” in which hyper-narrow pieces of architecture are squeezed into too-small spaces. Their name is derived from the fact that they are usually built out of spite—to block a neighbor’s view after a feud, to lay claim to an irrelevantly narrow plot of land, to troll the neighborhood. Given the long-running association between skinny architecture and spite, it’s refreshing to see a building just as narrow, but without the drama.
Enter: SO&CO‘s office building, an eight-and-a-half-foot-wide workspace tucked in a Tokyo alleyway. The Japanese architectural firm’s newest construction stands on an L-shaped plot and is bookended by two buildings in one of the city’s buzzy shopping districts, Ginza. Within, the narrow structure is outfitted with five miniature workspaces for a tenant, distributed across four stories, along with prominent windows, glass walls, and a skylight, which opens the cool, concrete interior up to Tokyo’s lights.