A small space wedged between homes in Okazaki, in South Central Japan, the plot was narrower than some inner-city alleys. But when architect Katsutoshi Sasaki was presented with the challenge of carving out a home for a two-child family in what was ostensibly leftover land, he pivoted. Instead of focusing on the three meter width, he played with length and height to create a light-filled, wood-clad home that used its inherent limitations to its advantages.
A Tokyo house’s 1,900 square foot labyrinthine interior makes for a dynamic space. Concrete planters frame the facade—a union of monolithic slabs that offers privacy and compositional integrity to the building. The exterior is a plaster finish over insulation and concrete.
An established Japanese architecture firm with a yen for porous, indoor-outdoor living spaces crafts a hilltop perch for a young family and the surrounding wildlife.
Takuya and Yurika Ninomiya always dreamed of opening a gallery together. As art lovers, the couple had hoped that if they were lucky, they’d be able to do so after Takuya retired from his job at a printing company and Yurika from hers as a flower designer. But when the Ninomiyas decided to buy their first home, they realized this was their chance. If they commissioned a building incorporating three spaces—a gallery, flower shop, and residence—into one, they’d be able to finance their fantasy.
Masahiro and Mao Harada of Mount Fuji Architects Studio wanted to break with the traditional definition of a house when they designed this small Tokyo home. They achieved their goal by using the same material for the ceiling, the walls, and the floor, creating a space that flows beautifully.
Daisuke Tokuyama told Japanese architect Makoto Tanijiri that he wanted a light-filled home for his family of five—a tall order, considering his narrow property in Hiroshima was boxed in on three sides. To creatively solve the problem, Tanijiri skipped conventional walls altogether and wrapped the entire three-story steel structure in polycarbonate plastic.
For "2004," a private residence amid a new residential development in Matsumoto, Japan, Nakayama started off with sketches of a girl sleeping on a blanket with a floor hovering above her. What began as an exercise in exploring spatial relationships through rudimentary sketches spiraled into a home that breaks with convention.
Drawing on an inherited plot of land, his father’s steel company, and his brother-in-law’s architectural know-how, Motoshi Yatabe’s house is all in the family. A glass facade hidden behind the black enclosure looks onto an ample outdoor space open to the sky: a shady garden on the lower floor and a sheltered terrace just off the living room on the second floor.