A Small Tobacco Shop by Avehideshi Architects
and Associates


Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

Japanese firm Avehideshi Architects and Associates have completed this one-person house with a tobacco shop on the ground floor in Osaka, Japan.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

A Small Tobacco Shop has been built on a 24 square-metre triangular site between a train line and high-rise block of flats.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

The kitchen, bathroom, living space and shop are on the ground floor, with the bedroom on the second, and a walled roof-terrace on the third.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

A spiral staircase and slimmed-down first storey floor slab have been used to maximize floor space and ceiling height respectively.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

The internal wall enclosing the the spiral staircase has been painted green to give a feeling of depth.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

A slit has been cut  between the first-storey floor slab and bathroom wall to allow light to flow into the shop floor from above.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

All photographs are by Hiroki Kawata.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

Here's some more from the architects:

A small tobacco shop

It is a project for the small tobacco shop where a woman in her sixties lives alone.The central places for living such as kitchen, bath, restroom are located on the first floor together with the shop. The bedroom is on the second floor and the terrace is on the third floor.

This site is located about 500 meters from a major train station in suburban Osaka. It is a lively area with large supermarkets and high-rise apartments.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

With construction to elevate the train line and redevelopment of the area around the station, land readjustment led to a former combination store front and dwelling being dismantled and the land being reassigned, leaving this site: a 24.38 sqm small triangular plot.

Not only small but an unusual shape, we decided to take advantage of this by installing a spiral staircase to preserve as much floor space as possible. In addition, we made the 2nd floor slab as thin as we could, and made slits to allow light to pour in from the upper floor. Painting the support wall for the staircase green gave a feeling of depth, creating a space where the room and staircase are one, to finish off this large tobacco shop.

Tobacco by Avehideshi Architects and Associates

Click above for larger image

Architects : Hideshi Abe / Avehideshi Architect and Associates
Location : Osaka , Japan
Principal use : personal house and shop
Structure : steel structure , 3stories
Site area : 24.38 sqm
Building area : 15.55 sqm
Total floor area : 36.98 sqm
Completion : Sept , 2007
Structural engineer : Takashi Manda
Photo : Hiroki Kawata

See also:


Small House
by Avehideshi Architects
House in Hamadera
by Coo Planning
Townhouse in Landskrona
by Elding Oscarson

Posted on Thursday August 19th 2010 at 8:02 pm by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • You guys decided to kill us with these Japanese gems. It is absolutely freaking amazing. Every project is like a poetry line. Few words (few lines, simplistic plans, little twist) and the entire world is there. Un-f…-believable. Die starchitects!

    Now this one is not only beautifully designed … but it is so cool in terms of the program. TOBACCO shop. Great! Here in N. America the smoking will soon be a criminal offense :) Anyways… All I can say is to repeat after my favorite poet:

    "Whether you come from heaven or hell, what does it matter, O Beauty!"
    Charles Baudelaire

  • wpgmb

    so quaint + minimal, makes me wanna roll a cigarette! a better view of the shop would have been nice.

  • themark

    Another lifeless white box. Show me how it looks after the furniture goes in.

  • tomitwoshoes

    Although I feel/believe that there may be far too much of this new minimalist japanese architecture being constructed, I can not help but applaud them for the consistancy at which they design this type of architecture, it is always neat and tidy, and maybe when there are books and books published on this architecture in the future i'll be proud to say I was following it with great interest!

  • edward

    To bad the interior fotos are overexposed as it would be interesting to see how effective the slit between the second floor slab and the bathroom wall really is.
    Also it would be interesting to know what the wall cladding is.

    • angry catalan

      It's not about exposure – you can overexpose a faint light by a few stops before it goes completely white (white is over LV18 and a bright sky is LV15), so there's the same difference in zones between the walls and the light source as if exposure hadn't been compensated (assuming that's the case.)

    • charlie chan

      actually, coming from a photo background, none of the photos are over-exposed. Its just a very white space…

  • It's insane, I love it.

  • antonius

    lifeless indeed. Can't imagine buying my cigarettes there. And living?? Sleeping on the staircase perhaps after a good night drinking. Pissing at the entrance maybe. But maybe it's probably more 'correct' to say WHOW, AMAZING..INSANE.

    • No it's not about political correctness. It's about beauty.
      Do you really smoke? :)

  • fma

    i wonder how the often staunch and unrevealing facade of new Japanese architecture reflects the social prioroties and thoughts of today. What's the link?

    • angry catalan

      People are defensive. If anything, this kind of Japanese architecture compromises aesthetics (in some aspects) in order to fit with a (maybe stereotypical? bourgeoise? I don't know) idea of what people need in Japanese cities – private space, being shielded from a demanding and disorderly outside world, etc. I think it was beautiful when Tadao Ando did it back in the day, because his buildings were very angry and uncompromising. To him this way of seeing the city was an aesthetic principle as well. Nowadays it's just sort of "hey, that's what people want", and I'm not sure it's still as powerful, but it does produce above-average buildings and I really wish the normal "filler" buildings in any city were above-average, white and pretty.

      In the English-speaking world you get garden city antics, which is sort of the same thing for a society which feels confortable with a world of front yards, isn't it? That's the impression I get, at least.

      Maybe it also has to do with what Japanese arch schools teach. Around here there's strong emphasis on hygienism, on the idea that people want well built, well insulated, well lit homes and that that's more important than architecture itself – to the point that knowing how to do what engineers should do for you is more important than knowing about the city or aesthetics or whatever. Maybe Japanese schools teach that privacy is number one.

      I'm not sure you can lump it all together as "new Japanese architecture". Some other contemporary Japanese architects make very different buildings, even if they are also white and empty.

  • edward

    One might look at the structure as a simple problem, simply solved. The structure maximizes the available site to fulfill the brief. The woman has all she needs when at her post with the kitchen and bath. On the terrace she can gaze at the stars if she wishes. There is nothing extraneous It is a pure form expressing its function. Looking at the aerial view, it could be a model.. And this is what lifts it above mere construction, for me.

    • jhwhit

      lol. the woman has all she needs at her post.

  • Ozmoto

    I like it except for the lack of windows. If one has no window, big chair and a bottle of scotch… one has not reason to live.

  • charlie chan

    well, i guess we all gotta live here for a bit to really know if this is any good.
    housings are super personal… maybe for this 60 yrs old granny, THIS is what exactly she needed…………………………..

    I love how Dezeen actually constructively comment.
    Reminds me of scientist blogs.

  • luxor

    japan schools must have a bachelor of science major in stairs design course. they always make the best staircases

  • Lama

    I didn't like it at first and tried to draw a better one w. same programme and area, on the same site. it took me several hours to realize this is simply the best functionial layout possible for terms given. Lack of more windows seems reasonable to achieve maximum privacy.
    Only one thing bothers me: you actually sell cigarettes from your kitchen, I'd prefere to separate the work place, but there's simply not enough space.
    It is neither nice nor inventive IMHO, but surely is the best as could be there. Pure function.

    • edward

      With the kitchen on the first floor, the woman is always available when a customer comes up to the window to buy cigs. Likewise she can use the WC and not be away from the window for long. All very simple and efficient.

  • Felix

    how does granny sell tobacco with no signage or anything telling possible customers what's sold inside? it looks like a plant room to me, there's nothing indicating the public are welcome inside.

    • edward

      The cigs are sold through the window next to the door. it looks to me.

    • ivan

      I guess she doesn't need any signage as probably all her customers know her. It looks as if all of them live in the adjacent high-rise apartments.

    • Lama

      they're not welcome inside – sell is made thru the window I think

  • fivedollarshake

    What, no sign? ..

  • max habib

    How much longer will granny be able to climb those stairs?

  • w

    One would be very tempted to sell drugs from the window in a hope to get outta that shoebox!!

  • turtle

    Another white box from Japan.

  • Complete Is Complete

    WOW! This is one of the smallest of the small houses in Japan. Wonderful.