House in Kohoku by Torafu Architects



Tokyo-based architects Torafu have designed this family home in Yokohama, Japan.


The one-storey house, in the hilltop suburb of Kohoku, is made of cast concrete.


Photographs by Daici Ano.

Here's some more information from Torafu:


House in Kohoku

This site is located in a quiet residential region reclaimed on a hill of Yokohama. With neighboring houses lined very close together, this flag-shaped site meets a road at a verge of no more than 3 meters in width.


Since the site is tilted to the north, and the neighboring house to the south is two-storied and built on a higher ground, at first it seemed almost impossible to let in light from the south, although the client, a married couple who has lived in this place for a long time, wanted a small but sunshiny house of one-story just as their child became independent from them.


The roof which looks as if barnacled lets in light through the glass on the top of the tube-shaped windows that are set avoiding shades and eye gaze of the neighbors. On the inside of the house clearly appear the shapes of these "tubes" and the arris of a kind of folded plate roof softly separate the whole residential space.


The house being one-storied, we were able to form the roof with freedom. And taking advantage of the freedom, we aimed to make the exterior and the interior appear as two sides of the same object.


Although the main living area is no larger than approximately 7.5 x 7.5 meters, we tried to give appropriate distance among the scenes of food, clothing and housing by moderately separating every space along the arris of the ceiling and by making the most of the height of the ceiling itself. High arris connect neighboring spaces, and low arris separate them into, for instance, a living room and a bedroom.


Infixed at the space where the ceiling is highest is a wooden mass. Inside the mass are a kitchen, bathroom and sanitation facilities, while the top of the mass is used as a designing office for their son. The top of the mass, which is a lot like a loft, and other spaces are visually separated but family members presence can be felt when they are there.


We decided that we used reinforced concrete, and we sought to use it most reasonably. By giving the roof a kind of folded plate roof structure, we were able to fulfill the pillar-less interior space.


As opposed to the concrete substrate surface of the exterior, the walls and the ceiling are painted white and given a bright and homogenous finish.


The floor and the built-in furniture are made of medium-density fiberboard and given a paint finish. In stark contrast to the white walls and ceiling, the furniture exists as if it has grown from the floor.


The roof not only lets in light and provides cover from rain but, on the inside, gives the space a moderate separation. The brightness and softness of light differs according to season and time of day, which changes the look of the place. The windows on the roof cut out the sky and constantly project the changes of the nature.




Posted on Monday September 15th 2008 at 3:09 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • tito

    although i think interiors could have been better resolved

  • rajul mohandis

    don’t start climbing the stairs on the wrong foot! =) hahaha

  • jed_

    it would have been wonderful had it had bigger & more interesting windows. i still like it though.

  • Magna_Carta

    japan and tokyo are remarkable.

    if only britain and london had the opportunity for individual housing – rows of victorian terrances will never inspire such creativity as there

    i think the interiors could change to concrete quite easily for a successful solution

  • nique

    this is horrible! its not comfortable to live in!!

  • kingmu

    I’d live in this in an instant. A structure for the age.

  • Jeremiah

    “this is horrible! its not comfortable to live in!!”…

    So you live there? Why is it uncomfortable? How can you tell from a handful of pictures. Making quick judgments like this, particularly about the experience of space, are asinine. Yes, we can say something looks good or bad from photos. We can question design decisions. The one thing we can not do is comment on the experience of a space, or even of a lamp.

    As for living there, it LOOKS like a very simple living arrangement, and there is nothing wrong with that, we could all probably use simplicity these days.

  • addict

    lovely tiny concrete thing. @nique: sorry but it seems to be a very homelike atmosphere in there if you trust the images

  • K. Rimane

    clearly a failed attempt to seduce.
    the occupant of this house have no knowledge of interior design. the way it is decorated spoils everything else.
    In a few years people will look at this how and wonder “what were they thinking”
    originality = 6/10
    architectural = 6.5/10
    interior = 0/10
    overall = 3/10

  • critical cow

    Some plans would be useful.

  • pool

    House in Kohoku by Torafu looks great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    interesting work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    is it just one room? or is there divided spaces?
    i want to know more imfomation .

  • A.S.

    It looks like a concrete bunker, horrible shape…. the interior has potential.

  • edward

    So whose idea was the china cabinet. Seriously, I like the use of painted MDF and concrete, so elemental. But the intrusiveness of the ceiling is too much for me. Nice to she the Japanese are willing to accept such a radical design-client and neighbors.

  • not sure… what is interesting about this one? the roof topography?? to be honest it doesnt affect the spaces in a positive way… so whats the reason for this roof?

  • kingmu

    of all the architecture blogs i visit, this has got to have the most rude, nasty, crude comments of them all. it’s so frustrating to read so many negative comments meant only to uplift the author of the negative comment. for me, i simply feel lucky to be able to review all these various spacial concepts and efforts by so many in one place—whether i like them all is of little importance.

  • copycat ltd

    as a chinese, i would like to point out that we don’t like to live under the triangular/razor sharp ceiling. It will cause some psychological bad feeling(yes we call it Feng Shui)…….

    I adore the purity of Japanese architect, it’s a touch of Zen

  • cicada

    Feel home.

  • mitch

    copycat, maybe they did that roof because they knew for your mentioned reason you wont copy it? ;-)

  • it looks like living in the montains. i think it could work as kindergarten

  • dag

    I don’t know why, but they deleted my comments before… This project is a good architecture project… and it seems to be that dezeen is only interested in the yellowpress like comments like: WOW, GREAT, LOVE ZAHA OR HORRIBLE ETC…

  • hana

    love the it has grown out of the fresh green grass and no earthquake is going to push it over.

  • One

    Chinese are funny people. Japanese projects are too beautiful, to be meaningful. Hard to imagine a house where you have little chance to plan your family. In this sense this house is more of an appartment rather than a house. Concrete? Well its hard and heavy. It looks like WWII bunker which was never built in Japan. Strange association to western masonary house? How ese can we explai this? A better energie usage? Not really. But Imust say, without al those rationalization, it looks very beautiful.

  • Salvadore

    i think this is one of the best house i saw on dezeen, just like parr house, i like the roof windows. this house make me feel the catharsis!