Toyo Ito

One of his earliest buildings, now demolished and much mourned for by architects, was the White U house in Tokyo, which he built for his sister and her daughters in 1976 after the death of her husband. It was a monolithic, tyrannical house – a contemplative tube of white space wrapped around a solitary courtyard in a U-shape. It turned its back on the world with high windowless walls, the interior spaces lit only by chinks of daylight. One by one, the family left the house, describing living in it as being “imprisoned in a coffin” – an attitude seemingly shared by their pets, who all refused to be alone in the enclosed courtyard.

Toyo Ito

One of his earliest buildings, now demolished and much mourned for by architects, was the White U house in Tokyo, which he built for his sister and her daughters in 1976 after the death of her husband. It was a monolithic, tyrannical house – a contemplative tube of white space wrapped around a solitary courtyard in a U-shape. It turned its back on the world with high windowless walls, the interior spaces lit only by chinks of daylight. One by one, the family left the house, describing living in it as being “imprisoned in a coffin” – an attitude seemingly shared by their pets, who all refused to be alone in the enclosed courtyard.