Corner house by Masahiro Kinoshita



Masahiro Kinoshita of Kino architects has completed the interior of an apartment in Tokyo, Japan.


The residence is divided into two distinct areas - a white-painted portion comprising a kitchen, toilet, bathroom and closet with fixed layouts, and a wood-paneled space to be arranged according to the occupant's needs.


Here's some more information from Masahiro Kinoshita:


Corner House

Decomposing Rigidity

The purpose of this project was to remodel an apartment suite that is attached to a landowner’s house. Before any remodelling took place, the apartment’s layout was a common, Japanese –style “2DK”, which consists of two private bedrooms, a dining room that is connected to the kitchen, a bathroom, and a rest room. This is the standard layout for a large number of Japanese apartments in Tokyo, but is far too outdated and rigid for modern urbanites.


With this concept in mind, KINO architects proposed two spaces to break down the rigidity of the 2DK apartment – “White Space” and “Wood Space”.


White Space
The “White Space” consists of a wet area (kitchen, toilet, bathroom, and washing basin) and a closet. The volume was based on three factors – the wet area facilities, the overall storage space, and the user’s body size. Unless you have lived in Tokyo before, it is difficult to imagine the spatial limitations we go through everyday. It is necessary to design both highly functional and densely compact apartments – hence, the high number of “rigid” 2DKs. By combining all the daily “necessities” into one space, we were able to break out of this old-fashioned layout to create an area that suits the modern generation’s needs.


Wood Space
The main theme of the “Wood Space” is flexibility, which is why we chose to use an L-shape. While it is only a single room, the L-shape allows the area to be divided into two or three distinctive sections, depending on how the user sees fit. Therefore, the apartment can become acclimatized to several activities at any one time – it becomes a more natural environment because the areas created by the user will not impede upon one another.


It is uncommon for living spaces to contain the two key characteristics of this project, Functionality and Flexibility. It is through the combination of both the “White” and “Wood” Spaces that make it possible to have these two traits co-exist, augmenting the overall desired effects within a small space.


Remodelling as a Tool for Sustainability
Ise-jingu, one of the most famous wooden shrines in Japan, is torn down and rebuilt once every twenty years. This does not seem like a sustainable practice, considering stonemasonry or poured-concrete last much longer. Wood does not last as long as the aforementioned materials, but can be just as sustainable because it has the flexibility to be constantly reformed or remodelled to whatever design we desire. This concept was applied to the “Wood Space”, making future plans for remodelling the landowner’s attached house quite flexible. Once the entire building is remodelled under this theme, it will “melt” away any rigidity of the previous floor plan, as the owner can adjust the balance between spaces as he sees fit.


architect: Masahiro Kinoshita / KINO architects
principal use: apartment / remodelling
structure: steel
total floor area: 42.80sqm
ceiling height: 2,370mm
photographs: Masahiro Kinoshita

More about Masahiro Kinoshita on Dezeen:



Guest House Tokyo

Posted on Monday March 23rd 2009 at 1:55 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • 2 elephants stoold in a corridor….it’s enough , you dunnot need Moooi horse and pig there

  • One

    Original house seems to serve for an eldery. Now in the proposalis for yonger generation…

  • Thomas Ha

    Very good..

    Some suggestions:
    1. Your layout sketch should have some labels showing names of individual rooms to make it easier to reference to the corresponding pictures.
    2. The same for each pictures, giving them functional names give the readers better understanding of the relationship.
    3, Its hard to vision from the pictures, should have more wide angled pictures.
    4. The picture in the bedroom is too white so once you scan it, you lose more clarity…making hard to see the background.

  • lana

    Thomas Ha, it’s great to get this kind of comments. Not that it’s my project, but because I think this blogs/websites are useful for exchange opinions and feedback, and not to say everything posted here is rubbish without any understanding of what design and architecture means…
    This is “team work”.

  • dark forest

    an interesting detail: patterns on the white curtain(in bedroom photo) resemble wooden texture, is the type of translucent cloth selected on purpose so as to let the curves formed by threads or silk as a resonance between white and timer space?

    Japanese architecture always has allurement to me as the limitation of space make things subtle.

    yes, Spatial Fluency dominates 21st century’s architecture. Kino did so by using ‘L’, while Zaha pushing her circulations into extremity. ‘They all remain essentially the same despite all apparent changes’.

    but somehow i find the absolute contrast between wood and white bears some resemblance of a morgue. maybe because it’s not inhabited at the moment, white long curtain blowing at night in an empty clean space can be scary…Ring

    wood with excessive knots like decayed banana skin…

    in the photo of the sink in toilet, two red flowers reflected in the mirror brings a garden atmosphere to the wooden space.

    wide-angle lens’ photos can lie to u in terms of spatial quality…

  • critic

    Where is the door into the unit?

  • jess

    has someone a front view of the corner house?