Unique Homes in Japan: Sliver of a House in Tokyo

In this installment of the Unique Homes in Japan series, we feature a very small house in Suginami ward, in western Tokyo that is wedged onto a 52 sqm (about 560 sqft.) acutely triangular site area formed by the intersection of a small river and the adjacent road.

The Horuinouchi House in western Tokyo is located on a 52.15sqm (about 560sqft) site area in the shape of an acute triangle. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa

The Horinouchi House in western Tokyo is located on a 52.15sqm (about 560sqft) site area in the shape of an acute triangle. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa via ArchDaily

Due to the owners’ requirement for off-street parking, the architects, Mizushi Architects Atelier, cantilevered the second floor to make room for the family car.

The second floor is cantilevered to create an off-street parking space. Source: ArchDaily

The second floor is cantilevered to create an off-street parking space. Source: ArchDaily

 

A parking space was created by cantilevering the second floor. Photo:

A covered parking space was created by cantilevering the second floor. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa via ArchDaily

Amazingly, the actual building area was only 29.07 sqm (about 313 sqft) but the architects managed to squeeze 55.24 sqm (about 595 sqft) of living space into the two-floor, wooden-construction home.

Lace curtains are used throughout the first floor to create a feeling of spaciousness and airiness. Photo:

Lace curtains are used throughout the first floor to create a feeling of spaciousness and airiness. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa

The bedroom and bathroom are located on the first floor. The only internal wall and door on this private floor separate the bathroom from the bedroom. Lace curtains are used instead, to create a feeling of spaciousness and airiness.

The architects also had to contend with the regulation that roads in Japan must be at least four meters wide. In reality, however, old roadways are often much narrower. In these cases, a building must be setback from the center of the old roadway by at least two meters (or sometimes more, depending on local ordinances).

The hipped room maximizes the volume of the living space, given the roadside setback requirement. And a large bay window on the second floor allows for river views. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa

The hipped room maximizes the volume of the living space, given the roadside setback requirement. And a large bay window on the second floor allows for river views. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa via ArchDaily

The house has a hipped roof to maximize the total volume of living space, given the setback requirement. At the same time, the architect wanted to incorporate the riverside location into the design of the house. A large bay window allows for riverside views.

The owners are a husband and wife and their young daughter. The top floor loft looks like a great play room!

Loft playroom in the Horinouchi House. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa

Loft playroom in the Horinouchi House. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa via ArchDaily

The high ceilings in the kitchen and dining rooms also create a feeling of space.

High-ceilinged kitchen and dining room. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa

High-ceilinged kitchen and dining room. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa via ArchDaily

 

A large bay window brings light into the living room. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa

A large bay window brings light into the living room. Photo: Hiroshi Tanigawa via ArchDaily

Floor plan for the main living space. Source: ArchDaily

Floor plan for the main living space. Source: ArchDaily

The house was built in 2011, with a construction cost of 15,500,000yen (about $128,000 at today’s exchange rate).

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