Poetic and Functional Minimalism in Modern Japanese House Design

Stairway Residence

Floor plans and section
About nendo

Architects: nendo
Area: 284 m2
Year: 2019
Location: Minato City, Tokyo, Japan
Photos: Daici Ano, Takumi Ota
Manufacturers: ASAHI WOODTECH Cooperation, NENGO Company Limited
Responsible Architect: Oki Sato
Project Team: Oki Sato, Ishibayashi Noritake, Tsubasa Shindo
Collaborators: SOLSO, YSLA

This is a home for two families in a quiet residential area of ??Tokyo. With other residences and apartment buildings putting pressure on the place, the architectural volume was drawn back to the north to absorb the daylight, ventilation and vegetation of the yard in the living environment through a large glass facade on the south side.

With this floor plan it was possible to preserve the existing tree and much appreciated by previous generations. Considering the possible difficulties of going up and down the stairs, the dormitory for the older couple was arranged on the first level. The eight cats who live with this couple roam in and out more freely and encourage their mothers to enjoy their hobby of gardening more freely.

The youngest couple and their son reside on the second and third levels. To prevent the two families from being completely separated between the upper and lower parts, a “stair-like” structure was designed in the south courtyard, running from the first to the third level.

Within this “stairway” are included functional elements such as bathrooms and another stairway for daily use, in addition its upper part assumes the appearance of a semi-external greenhouse with abundant vegetation and a sun-bathed element for cats to climb. Thus, the staircase and vegetation smoothly connect the upper and lower floors along a diagonal line, creating a space where all three generations can enjoy each other's subtle presence.

The ladder not only connects the interior to the backyard, or joins one house to another, this structure aims to expand further to connect the surroundings and the city - connecting the road that extends southwards at ground level and the skylight by through the upper light input.

Floor plans and section

About nendo

Tokyo Office

AddressJapan, 〒107-0052 Tokyo, Minato City, Akasaka, 7 Chome−2−21, Sōgetsu Hall, 6F
Phone+81 3-5414-3470
Fax+81 3-5414-3471

Milan Office

AddressVia Pinamonte da Vimercate, 4, 20121 Milano MI, Italy

Stairway Residence

Nagoya Courtyard House

Floor plan and sections
About Takeshi Hosaka Architects

Architects: Takeshi Hosaka Architects
Area: 470 m²
Year: 2014
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Photos: Koji Fujii / Nacasa & Partners Inc.
Manufacturers: AEG, Lixil Corporation, MORI NO MADO
Structural Engineering: Kenji Nawa / Nawakenji-M
Client: Keisuke Noguchi
Land: 470.60 m²
Constructed Area: 233.84 m²
Gross Area: 187.67 m²

The land is located approximately 1km west of Nagoya castle. In the adjacent land there are two single-storey residences, as well as high-rise apartments, with more than 10 floors. Nagoya's summer is very hot, when it rains the water can rise more than 50 cm above street level. Taking these issues into account, we designed a serene and comfortable house for a family of three (husband, wife and son).

Taking advantage of the large plot, we designed a single-level residence that surrounds a garden patio. We caused the openings to face the patio and the eaves protrude, ending in the same line as the floor, limiting the interior / exterior in one plane. In this way, the project becomes an architectural style in which the earth soil outdoors may or may not have a covering, containing vegetable gardens and other vegetation and that all earth floors are facing the glass creating a boundary between interior and outside. This area is different and in addition, it fulfills the role of blocking the line of sight, closing the direct passage of sunlight in summer, creating a living space in which the interior is partly outside.

The finished floor level is 75 cm above the street level. This is a safety measure in case of flooding. We use diatomaceous earth for the interior walls, so it is possible to feel the naturalness of the earth. The outer wall was created with rough lines and a tree was planted in the small garden so that it is possible to see its leaves from the windows. In addition, due to the window facing the courtyard and the small opening to the small outdoor garden, the entire house has ventilation making it pleasantly livable even in the hot summer of Nagoya.

The dirt path in the garden courtyard creates direct access. It has been designed in such a way that both the interior and the exterior play a major role in everyday life.

Floor plan and sections

About Takeshi Hosaka Architects

Takeshi Hosaka Architects was established by Takeshi Hosaka and Megumi Hosaka in 2004. After 10 years of activities in Yokohama, Japan, we moved our headquarters to Tokyo and reached the 15th anniversary in 2019.

The completed projects are the “Spring Water Pavilion” at the foot of Mt. Fuji in 2004, “LOVE HOUSE” a small house in Yokohama in 2005, “Hoto Fudo” at the foot of Mt. Fuji in 2009, “Hongodai Christian Church Church School Nursery Center” in 2010, 2011 “DAYLIGHT HOUSE”, 2014 “Shonan Christian Church”, 26 buildings such as small houses to large stores, religious facilities, educational facilities such as church school nursery school, furniture design “moon chiar”, venue configuration “ "Shunsuke" and exhibitions.

AddressJapan, 〒162-0801 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Yamabukicho, 358 小磯大竹ビル202
Phone+81 3-5946-8909

Kame House

Floor plan and section
About Kochi Architect's Studio

Architects: Kochi Architect's Studio
Area: 135 m²
Year: 2013
Location: Niigata, Japan
Photos: Takumi Ota
Author: Kazuyasu Kochi
Structural Engineering: Yukihiro Kato / MI + D architectural structure laboratory
Land Area: 237.13m2

This house is located in a new residential area in Japan. The house has 12 small rooms with different functions. It is inserted in a hexagonal void in the center of the house: an atrium that connects all rooms.

The result is a dynamic and complex interior that offers the experience of being present in all spaces at the same time.

The walls and floors are more than 60mm thick and are constructed of LVL laminated wood sheets.

Floor plan and section

About Kochi Architect's Studio

Our design begins with the wishes of our clients.
From each image, site, budget and other conditions,
We would like to realize a new architectural form together.

Design flow
Consultation (free)
   Please contact us by email or phone.
Suggestion (150,000 yen / 2 months)
   Please consider whether to request based on the proposal.
   If you proceed to the design contract, the proposal fee is included in the design fee.
Basic design / implementation design (about 6 months)
Quotation / confirmation application (about 4 months)
   We will make a phase estimate to about 3 construction companies.
   By assessment (adjustment work to obtain an appropriate amount) and reduction
   We will adjust the budget and apply for confirmation after the construction amount has been finalized.
Main work (about 6 months)
   Construction supervision is done once a week.
   We also carry out inspections in stages with a structural expert.
Completion inspection / delivery
   Completion inspection and delivery will be done under the presence of the client.
   Inspections will be conducted one year after completion.

Design fee

Newly designed (house / villa / store)
   10-12% of total construction cost (including consumption tax)
   The design fee depends on the total construction cost and the structure type.
   Minimum design fee of 2.4 million yen.
Interior renovation design
   15% of total construction cost (including consumption tax)
   The design fee depends on the total construction cost and the structure type.
   Minimum design fee of 1.2 million yen.

 〒171-0032 東京都豊島区雑司が谷2-17-1
Phone+81 3-3986-0095
Website 1http://www.kkas.sakura.ne.jp/
Website 2http://www.kkas.net/

Kame House

Beiral House

Floor plans and section
About mA-style architects

Architects: mA-style architects
Area: 70 m²
Location: Hamamatsu, Japan
Year: 2014
Photos: Kai Nakamura
Manufacturers: FONTE TRADING, Lixil Corporation, Panasonic
Authors: Atsushi Kawamoto, Mayumi Kawamoto
Structure: Naotake Koyama Structure drawing office / Naotake Koyama
Supervision: mA-style architects
Construction: Arakawa Corporation
Land Area: 168.17 m²
Constructed Area: 71.60 m²
Deployment Area: 42.58% (60% allowed)
Floor Area Ratio: 42.07% (80% allowed)

Beiral House is characterized by the position of the eaves and the style of the roof. The space under the eaves is the point at which the interior space meets the exterior.

The structure creates a feeling of a large extended vertical space, which ensures privacy. The horizontal line is extended to the colliding terrain, creating a feeling of 3D space. The coexistence of open and closed spaces is suitable for both daily life and various activities. The house connects the inhabitants with the environment.

Floor plans and section

About mA-style architects

Atsushi Kawamoto

Born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1977
2004 Established M-Ace Architectural Plan
2006 MO Style Co., Ltd. Reorganization of architectural plan

Mayumi Kawamoto

Born in Shizuoka in 1975
2004 Established M-Ace Architectural Plan
2006 MO Style Co., Ltd. Reorganization of architectural plan

Address212-38 Hosoe, Makinohara, Shizuoka 421-0421, Japan
Phone+81 548-23-0970

Beiral House

SEKI Residence

Floor plans and section
About SAI Architectural Design Office

Architects: SAI Architectural Design Office
Area: 99 m²
Location: Toyono, Osaka, Japan
Year: 2019
Photos: Norihito Yamauchi
Responsible Architect: Satoshi Saito
Design Team: Ippei Yasue
Structure: Ippei Yasue
Engineering: Ikesyo Corporation
Landscaping: KOKAJI plant office

The project is located in a residential area in Toyono-cho, Osaka, built at Showa 42-54 (1967-1979). This Tokiwadai is aging, especially considering that there are residents who have lived there for about 40 years, however, as a suburban city, it is very popular because it has contact with green areas and has recently been renovated, including renovations, reconstructions and the appearance of houses and small-scale stores.

The site has roads from north to south, and you can see abundant forests and mountains on the north side. It is a place to enjoy the surroundings. The project is based on the idea of ​​receiving the pleasant breeze from the forest area. A space with a gap between north and south was planned so that the rich mountain forest landscape could be returned to the residential area. In this empty space, two volumes are attached to create a relationship similar to the river that leads from the residential area to the forest in a slightly closed space.

In addition, the project is surrounded by a large floating ceiling, becoming a house where wind, light and people are invited from the forest to the residential area. A large piece of carpentry works as a weir that connects nature (forest) and the population (residential area). When you leave it open, several environments enter the building as soon as water flows from the residential area, providing a place for active communication with the neighborhood. Children can run inside and out, play in the pool or have a barbecue on the large terrace.

It is also served as a place of communication with friends and neighbors, and can be used as a store for galleries and cafes. On the other hand, if it closes, the place becomes a living room, where people will gather and relax in a space that can be used for anything 24 hours a day. The interior of the two volumes is designed as a living space where the ceiling height is reduced to create a calm space, creating a connection between the forest and the ground. The large roof with an extension of approximately 9m that surrounds this diverse space is supported by a total of 10 pillars, 5 on the east end and 5 on the west end, guaranteeing the freedom of the plant.

The center of the building is a rigid wooden joint using a domestic connector, combined with a rigid wooden structure that also exerts horizontal strength using hardware and plywood as a pillar. In addition, by connecting two volumes with three H steel profiles, a structure was created that withstands pressure and does not use connecting bars. The structure is visible to children, family and visitors as reminders of their residence.

It is not possible to support people's activities just by thinking about where they return home after work and become a base to rest with their families. In addition to creating a living space, there is a need for an architecture that can respond to the activities of people who show various expressions, 24 hours a day, and that can handle a variety of scenes. The idea is that this project is an architecture that shows the need for a house that can use several banks in various ways.

Floor plans and section

About SAI Architectural Design Office

Architectural design and supervision
(Detached house, villa, apartment house, commercial office building, public facility, factory, renovation, etc.)
(Interior / Furniture / Exhibition event / Product etc.)
Land use planning related to architecture
Consulting, research, and research work related to city planning and city planning
Education, lectures and publishing business related to cities and architecture

Address3 Chome-3-13 Misonocho, Kawanishi, Hyogo 666-0013, Japan
Phone+81 72-714-0248

SEKI Residence


Floor plans and section
About Architecture Show

Architects: Architecture Show
Area: 129 m²
Location: Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Year: 2011
Photos: Toshihisa Ishii

The terrain is narrow and long, between a highway and a cliff. The key concept of the design, in addition to ensuring a sufficient living space, was to harmonize the project with the natural surroundings.

The land is two meters below the highway boundary, and the natural slope was used boldly without attempting a restructuring. The building has a very aesthetic shape that seems to float in the air. The north side facing the track is flat and simple. As you approach the house by car, the white shape of the west part of the building gradually becomes larger and reflects sunlight.

There are no windows on the sides of the building. It is designed so that from all windows only the sea is visible. Attention turns to the sound of the ocean waves, creating a relaxing life experience. The house is not in the middle of the city, but in a unique natural environment, which is why the architect designed it to bring the benefits of this environment to residents.

Naturally, the project should provide the functionality of a residence. The first floor of the horizontal house, which serves as a garage, was built in reinforced concrete, while the second level, part of which works as an office, as well as the living room and canopy on the third floor, is of a mixed structure of wood and concrete. armed. Since there is no line of sight in all four directions, rainwater is collected within the structure by tilting the roof.

The house lives with the immensity of nature, sometimes softly and sometimes fiercely. What is certain is that the owner now loves the rich variation of the Japanese climate.

Floor plans and section

About Architecture Show

Masahiko Sato First-class architect

Registration Number 284168
Fukuoka Association of Architects
& Building Engineers Member Number 0080002
Japan Institute of Architects Certified Number 0502529
Japan Institute of Architects Registered Architect 20401994
Inspector for Postearthquake Safety Evaluation of Building
The International Desgin Club
The International Association of Designers


In daily life, people put themselves in a space somewhere.
Home, school, work, public institution, commercial facility...
In every space, what do people see, experience and feel?
We base on people, harmonize every element, like function, things, environment to create a space and the style, and that is our job.
We'd love to keep creating the space that makes your life joyful and pleasant, the space becomes more attractive and valuable by people who are enjoying it

Address302 Royal Parks Daimyo 8-18, 1 chome Daimyo Chuo-ku Fukuoka, 810-0041, Japan
Phone+81 92-762-2100
Fax+81 92-762-2101


House in Takamatsu

Floor plans and sections
About Fujiwaramuro Architects

Architects: Fujiwaramuro Architects
Area: 131 m²
Location: Takamatsu, Japan
Year: 2019
Photos: Katsuya. Taira
Manufacturers: Delta Light, Revigres, SK Kaken

Located in the center of Takamatsu, this residence houses a couple with a child. The client requested that the building occupy as much of the lot as possible, guarantee privacy, have a built-in garage that showed his car and a reinforced concrete structure with simple finishes, instead of interiors textured with wood and other materials. We responded to a proposal that placed the living / dining / kitchen area at the center of the lot, with other spaces around it.

The building consists of four external walls that completely surround the property, with an empty space located within each of the four corners and another in the center. These five voids bring uniform light to the interior spaces, giving the living / dining / kitchen area a spacious and bright atmosphere, despite the location on the first level. The four empty spaces incorporate the external environment, maintaining privacy, creating an open space with strong connections with the outside.

To keep the interior spaces simple, we use only four structural pillars. The swings that extend horizontally from these columns support the first and second levels, the walls and the roof. Thanks to this arrangement, the external walls do not need to support the second level or the ceiling, which made it possible to include thin, long windows, which allow 360 degrees of light to enter. This allows lines of sight to extend outside the volume without compromising privacy.

The project also resulted in significant savings in the construction budget. The terrain is quite unstable and would require extensive soil stabilization if a common base was used. However, with our project, foundations were needed only at the four posts, reducing the soil stabilization budget to a quarter of what it would be on a complete foundation.

Floor plans and sections

About Fujiwaramuro Architects

Shintaro Fujiwara

Born in Osaka
Kinki University Faculty of Science and Engineering Department of Architecture Graduated
Kinki University Graduate School of Engineering Department of Architecture Graduated
Established Fujiwara / Muro Architectural Design Office
2002 ~
Based in Osaka, he has carried out a lot of various house designs ranging from flat houses to small houses mainly in Kansai and Shikoku. Also designed stores, offices and clinics in Tokyo and Osaka.
From 2020
Part-time lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Kinki University

Blood type: O type Hobbies: Walking around town
Reason for aiming to be an architect: Since I was a child, I was exposed to various types of architecture and was interested in the fun of the interior space.

Architecture that values ​​"likeliness"

I feel that the time has come when you can see and choose many things.
There are many things that are beautiful and well organized. However, what I buy and notice is that I often feel that something I like and something that suits me is slightly different, and what I imagined if there was such a thing is surprising Is.
I think there is a lot of such aspects in architectural design. Although there are things that the builder wants, there are many other conditions that make it impossible to move the site, including the site. In addition to summarizing hopes, I would like to find, imagine, and propose a space design that suits people who use the place, such as a house, store, or office. I think that what was designed and born in this way will be irreplaceable and will be used with attachment.

Yoshio Muro

Born in Nagoya, Aichi
Kinki University Faculty of Science and Engineering Department of Architecture Graduated
Established Fujiwara / Muro Architectural Design Office
2002 ~
Based in Osaka, he has carried out a lot of various house designs ranging from flat houses to small houses mainly in Kansai and Shikoku. Also designed stores, offices and clinics in Tokyo and Osaka.
From 2020
Part-time lecturer, Faculty of Architecture, Kinki University

Blood type: O type Hobbies: Cycling
The reason I aimed to be an architect: I have liked a space where people can relax and feel relaxed since I was a student.

Building like a small jewelry box with fun

Architecture is a very long relationship compared to automobiles, home appliances and clothes. Therefore, construction, especially housing design, requires a design that can withstand changes in lifestyle. A rational space with no gap of one minute becomes inconvenient as soon as the premise changes. Therefore, I propose a space where various "plays" are scattered. "Play" here is a spatial device that is ambiguous and does not limit its usage. For example, a reading space like a corridor, a staircase like a bookshelf, a living space like a staircase. Although they seem irrational at first glance, we believe that such a mechanism creates richness in the space and creates a deep space that can withstand changes in lifestyle. Various discoveries can be found depending on the idea of ​​the resident, and such discoveries evoke a new lifestyle for the resident. We aim to propose such a space as a “stage of life” that will never get tired.

Phone+81 6-6761-5577

Osaka office

Address7-4 Kubori-cho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka, Japan

Tokyo office

Address1-3-6-2F, Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

House in Takamatsu

Loop Terrace House

Floor plans and sections
About Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates

Architects: Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates
Area: 159 m²
Year: 2018
Photos: Toshiyuki Yano

This is a small residence in a dense urban environment. The land is surrounded by buildings on its four sides, the client hoped to build a house that would produce, even if modestly, a sense of peace and satisfaction between interior and exterior.

To contemplate this relationship in the country's cultural climate, the first example that emerged was Villa Imperial Katsura (known as Katsura). The design of this small house started from my process of delving into this example.

While studying the interior / exterior relationship as evident in Katsura's project, I rediscovered several elements that lead to his feeling of pleasure. So, I considered ways to implement this knowledge through a large garden in the urban context.

I thought that by cutting Katsura's plant and turning it to close in a circle, maybe I could "bend" the spatial relationship between interior and exterior in a compact version.

This resulted in a walkway (engawa) that connects and supports the rich internal / external relationships that extend in a three-dimensional circle, taking a walk around the house. I would be very happy if, through this project, I could demonstrate new possibilities for an urban house based on its relations between interior and exterior, unique and rich in our country.

Floor plans and sections

About Tomohiro Hata Architect and Associates

Design and supervision of architecture (regardless of size, use, new construction, reconstruction, etc.), furniture, lighting, other product design, urban design, landscape design, etc.

Address1-4 Onohamacho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 651-0082, Japan
Phone+81 78-599-9035
Fax+81 78 599 9036

Loop Terrace House

Slender Residence

Floor plans and sections
About FORM | Kouichi Kimura Architects

Architects: FORM | Kouichi Kimura Architects
Area: 125 m²
Location: Shiga, Japan
Year: 2019
Constructed Area: 112,28m²
Photos: Norihito Yamauchi, Yoshihiro Asada
Manufacturers: Wicanders

The exterior consists of volumes with carefully examined proportions and a specific design of windows and choice of materials. The high opening and the projecting balcony emphasize the vertical and horizontal lines, making the facade uneven.

Located on an accessible arterial route, the residence develops in the form of a strip, with a narrow width, but with great depth. Because the surroundings consist of houses built by construction companies, the project aimed to create a residence that represented a dignified presence, with the capacity for designation and comfort in a confusing urban environment.

Entrances are positioned on both sides of the balcony to improve the convenience of access from the parking spaces on each side. This moderately blocks the eyes of the street and ensures privacy. The interior of the first floor is connected from the entrances through the bathroom, along the deep, strip-shaped terrain. The raised floor, stairs and furniture are distributed rhythmically along the corridor. They are used as flexible communication spaces to enrich everyday life.

The second floor has a feeling of openness, where the exterior view is blocked on one side. The buildings are approaching on the periphery, but it is possible to have views of the mountain that appears to the north.

Making the most of this environment, a double-height living room was designed towards the street, and a large opening was created to trim the surrounding landscape.

The natural landscape and the light that is brought into the residence cause the internal appearance to change constantly, allowing the eyes to pass and expand. In addition, the light reflected in the shiny frieze makes the view more beautiful. The building, with an impressive appearance, generates a cozy space inside. This was made possible by studying the potential and characteristics of the place and adding to the building the exclusive brand of the architects.

Floor plans and sections

About FORM | Kouichi Kimura Architects

Kimura Koichi

1960 / Born in Shiga
1991 / Opened Koichi Kimura Building Research Institute


We aim to create a space where quiet time flows.

“His works, mainly residences, are characterized by a poetic and functional minimalism in which a sense of openness and privacy is achieved through careful slicing and layering of wall elements, light and shadows, volumes and spaces.”

Address1 Chome-1-35 Yagura, Kusatsu, Shiga 525-0053, Japan
Phone+81 77-565-8804
Fax+81 77-563-6269

Poetic and Functional Minimalism in Modern Japanese House Design