House In Okusawa by Schemata
Architecture Office


Japanese architects Schemata Architecture Office have completed the renovation of a house in Tokyo by covering parts of the exterior and revealing elements of the interior.

Above: before. Top: after

Called House In Okusawa, the project aimed to make small alterations using standard building materials.

The facade was simplified by painting the brickwork white and adding concrete steps, while beams are exposed and glass partitions added to the interior.

Photographs are by Takumi Ota.

Here's some text from Schemata Architecture Office:


House in Okusawa

By a small modification of the ordinary scenery, we tried to give the town an opportunity to experience some change.

Instead of the usual process of renovation which modifies the exterior and interior of the house, covering and hiding the original materials, the house is subtly renovated using ordinary building material.

Therefore, the neighbors notice that the house changed somehow, without being able to tell what and how exactly it has been modified.

We tried to penetrate the gap of their unconsciousness, by limiting their ability to precisely identify the change.

To achieve this, we didn’t deny or affirm the old touches, giving them the same importance as the new touches, testing the various meanings of renovation and the personal experience of inverting the outside and inside of the house.

The extend of the modification isn’t limited to this house only, but it is expected to encompass the scope of what is perceived as a thought of “small change”.

Project name: House in Okusawa
Address: Setagaya ward, Tokyo city
Construction: Aiga sangyo

Site area: 109.70 m2
Building area: 53.84m2
Total floor Area: 136.46 m2

Floors: B1F to 2F
Structure: wooden, part RC

Completion: January 2009
Photography: Takumi Ota

Posted on Friday November 13th 2009 at 1:43 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • aeolus


  • modular

    I want to make sex with japanese architecture! Nah, really… these guys really know how to hit the target regarding architecture.

    Love it!

  • Hemi

    Nice to see a bit of architectural reuse and recycling featured..

  • slater

    wow, another Japaneese home with glass partitions arround the bathroom. I still don’t get the see and be seen thing while one is using the bathroom… can anyone shed some light on this?

  • Adam

    Re: slater

    Well, Japan traditionally had, and still has, public baths so the concept of a bathroom in the home is relatively new so I am sure that privacy within the family isn’t as much of a desire as it is in the West.

  • INawe

    when i first saw the main photo i didn’t think it was anything special re: the exterior. my mind was changed when i saw the original photo of this house and the interior spaces are just amazing. i would love to see more adaptive reuse projects that are so well done such as this one.

  • julia

    before and after,
    would be funny

  • deaw

    the interior looks beautiful :)

  • angry catalan

    I can’t believe how simple it is to turn a shit house into this. Awesome.

  • gabs

    I do not understand what the problem was with the bricks in the facade, and why would a boring white paint cover be better. The original house was subdued by modern paradigms, but this alone does not make something a better architecture.

  • LOW

    That is a SERIOUSLY bizarre house.. can’t say I dislike it

  • alex

    loving the standard traditional lamp by the front door….

  • Lee Corbusier

    gabs – I think those were tiles, not bricks.
    lovely restrained stuff.

  • rdeamer

    they should do the house next door aswell

  • Nacho

    while i do like the work they did with the interiors, i’m finding hard to understand how is the white facade better than the previous one. for me, the new exterior makes the house look like a couple of white boxes placed together, no real thought put into it

  • This house feels like a fairytale. Like the set of some surreal story. It beautifully reveals itself, first to be something more than a virgin new build, and then to be a charming and seductive experience. Breathtaking. Next time I buy a tired suburban house I want Schemata to weave this kind of magic with it!

  • tokyospark

    "Therefore, the neighbors notice that the house changed somehow, without being able to tell what and how exactly it has been modified"

    What a load of rubbish.
    Another esoteric dream project that's probably hell to actually live in.

    And contrary to the above post. Houses in Japan have had baths for 100's of years so it's nothing new. The transparent bathrooms you see featured here recently are inserted by architects with esoteric visions and gullible clients who fall for their reasoning. A glass bathroom with concrete floors will be cold as the arctic, and highly impractical where electricity and hot water are expensive.

    I know, I live in Tokyo