A House Made of Two by Akio Nakasa


Japanese architect Akio Nakasa has completed two adjacent houses for one family, side by side in Kanagawa, Japan.

Called A House Made of Two, the buildings have curved facades and face each other around a courtyard, visually linked by markings on the ground and their similar forms and materials.

Deep recesses in the curved facades form porches on the ground floor and first-floor loggias.

Photographs are by Toshiyuki Yano/Nacasa & Partners.

The following is from the architect:

This is a project of one family living in two houses built slightly apart from one another.

One great volume of a house which covers the entire plot was supposed first.

Then this volume was carved in a curve in three segments and two volumes at the both ends were built as two houses on the site.

The wood structures and finishing materials of two houses are standardized to emphasis the relations of two volumes being originally from “one great volume” and that they are one though apart.

Carved volume in the middle became a courtyard leading to the approach to two houses.

Having another house for movies at night, overnight guests or work at home allows the inhabitants the liberty to do what they please at a time they want.

This distance between two houses may be just right for inviting grandparents to move in someday or providing privacy to children at puberty.

The purpose of building two houses slightly apart is not the same as that of having a villa at a resort or a farm household having a main building and a barn.

This project is an experiment for allowing more life style options in the life based in the urban area.

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Project: A House Made of Two
Architects: Akio Nakasa /  naf architect & design
Location: Kanagawa, Japan

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Program: single family residence
Site area: 250.21 sqm
Building area: 105.88 sqm
Total floor area: 179.11 sqm
Project Year: 2009

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Posted on Friday March 19th 2010 at 2:30 pm by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • ksdesignworks

    I think that it is a beautiful design and a smart idea. I love all the wood, and the angles. Very well done.

  • tanya telford – T

    among other things i like the way they have incorporated a tatami mat room into this modern house,

  • TL

    Nice done. simple lovely concept

  • Hiro

    So cool!
    Simple, but very worm design.
    I adore it.

  • Martin

    a great example of less is more! That’s a sizable chunk of possible house removed with the leather handle. Great persuasion skills to convince the client not to claim more floor space for the house. Courtyard remains a visual part of the house, if not a physical part. Natural light and privacy for an urban space. Great stuff

  • Je dois avouer que c’est un excellent boulot que vous avez fait là. Simple, sobre, chaleureux. Les points de vues sont étudiés. Les formes sont harmonieuses.

  • Abizar Teawala

    i really liked the way in which the central portion has been treated. its quite inviting and a very calm n sureal space. way to go.

  • Zaedrus

    What a drop dead gorgeous, well scaled, and well detailed interior!

    The exterior is nice (anyone recognize that roofing material?) but the interior is just amazing.


  • slater

    Wow, perfection! The project team should be very proud!

  • mcmlxix

    A gorgeous neo-minka for the new millennium. My only complaint would be the lack of green in the courtyard.

  • Mario

    Outstanding Japanese architecture without the concrete overkill..

    Well done!

  • quinn

    Lovely. But, jinkies, what is up with all these Japanese houses with translucent-walled bathrooms?

  • Oh… now we’re talking. Want want want.

  • Rudy

    The car really has become part of the household.
    That would really distract me in this otherwise excellent project.

  • Chuti Srisnguanvilas

    I like the car
    E30 M3 :D

  • nicey

    it’s that view.. between the two…
    pics 1, 4 and 3, that does it for me

  • LI X

    Japanese~~~~nice work!

  • memo

    I like the interiors, but have you realized that most japanese proyects always put the showers and baths where other people may look at them ? I mean there’s no privacy !!!!

  • Katwindk

    I think the approach to start with a “volume of a house which covers the entire plot” was essential part of this great design.

  • mcmlxix

    “The car really has become part of the household.”

    I think this project just doesn’t hide something that has been fact in much of the industrial world for many decades.

  • Fantastic work but I found the copy suggesting that the house provided privacy for teens going through Puberty to be hysterically funny and inappropriate at the same time. next time I’m designing a house I’ll be sure design a “wank” room into the plans.

  • Rune Riis

    After seing a lot of hard, dark minimalist residential projects from japan, – this is a light, inviting and joyful house.
    Very beautiful interior. A very modern interior, that seems to be inspired by japanese tradition.

  • json

    the speakers. the car. awesome nerdness! two houses for one bachelor?!

  • JP

    plan is better then the volumes.

  • Obscurity

    This is an outcome of optimized individul lifestyle options, well-planned under the Building Standards Act and urban ‘right of sunshine’ regulations. The two houses facing the courtyard actually comprise the ‘front’ of the project’ How do the other sides face its neighbors?

  • E

    I was just thinking about the idea of two houses as a new model of living together and having a freedom. Like in Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo house which has only a bridge link. Im looking forward to next projects developing this way of thinking :)

  • heaven heaven heaven

  • Erik

    Who is do decide what is appropriate or not? This design is an interesting solution to a great clients request. Wonderful.