Stairs-House by Y+M Design Office


Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Japanese architects Y+M Design Office have completed this family house in Japan, with a façade that forms a staircase to the roof.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Called Stairs-House, the building can be climbed from the garden at the bottom, up to the roof.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Glass slits in between the treads allow sunlight to filter into the house.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Inside the house, the stair structure has been left exposed, making the most of the unusual feature.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Here's some more information from the architects:


The owner of this house are young couple in their 30’s. They are both teachers and have twins.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

When they asked us to design their dream home, they had three key themes in mind.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

One is “people gathering” as they love their students visiting them, another is “warm and bright”,and the other is “protect their privacy”.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

The land is located at seaside. In winter, it suffers from the strong, cold sea wind and a short number of daylight hours.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

To the south of the land there is a 3-metre wide road and a 4-metre high bank leading to open ground.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

From the West is a combination of strong direct sunshine and sea wind.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

To the North is a road to the local village and to the East is a two-storey house closely.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Taking into consideration the owner’s three key requests and the location of the land, we designed this “Stair-Shaped” House as a solution.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

To allow sunlight into the house, there are a number of glass slits in-between the steps on the south side.The glass slits not only make them feel liberating but also keep their privacy at the same time.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

The “Stair-Shaped” House makes people automatically look upside. It gives them no oppressing feeling. The stair shaped wall is made of porcelain tiles and, therefore, maintenance free.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

The outside structure links the garden to the rooftop, and the inside of the house links a private porch/reception/lounge area to the bedrooms. The windows are designed and situated to allow in as much sunlight as possible, whilst retaining privacy.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Additionally, the “Stairs-House” achieves the aim of allowing in both daylight and ventilation very efficiently.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

In summer, the house has a nice breeze blowing through the small garden situated on the south side and removes heat through both opening and ventilation fan on the north side.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Also, the slit windows stop the strong, direct sunshine, whilst allowing the indirect reflected light into the house.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Click for larger image

In winter, this design keeps the house warm by allowing the maximum amount of sunlight into the house, in addition to the comforting warmth from the under floor heating and a wood-fire.

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Click for larger image

The “Stairs-House” is a perfect solution that can be adapted to any type of climate!

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Location:Oda-City, Shimane-Pref, Japan
Main Use:House
Site Area:417.80 ㎡

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Building Floor Area:98.22 ㎡
Total Floor Area:142.66 ㎡
Client : Koichi Iwatani & Masae Iwatani

Stairs-House by y+M Design Office

Architect : Masahiro Miyake (y+M design office Co.)
Director : Hidemasa Yoshimoto (y+M design office Co.)

See also:


Residence in Kurakuen by
NRM-Architects Office
Opera House Oslo
by Snøhetta
All our stories
about staircases

Posted on Monday November 15th 2010 at 8:43 am by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Felix

    Nice environmental diagrams at the bottom, and the interiors look sublime. I don't think that compensates for having a house half the size of your neighbour who has the same plot.

    • ross

      you wouldn't sacrifce square footage in favor of sublime interiors and environmental considerations???

      (not to mention the best porch in the neighborhood…..)

  • Terence

    Compared to some recent projects shown from Japan this one is definately a disappointment. I don't see any advantage in a form like this and it gives you no opportunity to expand. I think the designer had a preconception of an abject they were trying to create and maybe was looking a bit too much at some BIG projects.

    • this is pretty much the exact comment I was about to post

    • mud

      Maybe you are the one who relates BIG´s projects with this, I've do the same, though, I think that having the eternal desire for expansion its an utopia, also it stops the clousure of the project. In Japan the average building life is 30 years, so Just wait for the kids to grow up and the y wil need to rebuild their house.

  • Harphall

    I always wondered what it would be like to live under some bleachers. Now I know…

  • fabz

    It is a shame because this is an interesting concept (but not at all innovative) that I don't think applies perfectly to this house. Really small rooms despite the large size of the site, plus the stepped facade does not offer an impressive view as one might expect. A bit disappointing to be honest! Also in plan we read Japanese style rooms which actually are only small rooms with nothing of Japanese in it.

  • abhi

    Y would u like people to look inside ? great section though .

  • karan

    and the staircase to which the staircase leads is not usable. (less area)…

  • Aarin

    imagine sleeping while all of your nosy students are looking at you and your wife! its architecture for architecture!

  • yn2000

    from my point if view, I do not want to build a home to let all people stand & seat on me! wasting too much space!

  • mud

    I think the convept for a dwelling is very interesting, though having the stairs directly from the street its a little too much for having anybody in your roof, in that case I´d have the terrace entrance from inside the house. I consider the room proportion as a part of the Japanaese style of life, nothing more. I really like it!

  • the key element of the project, the staircase is done in an awful seventies material.

  • drw

    There is something terrifying about this house. Sorry for the hyperbole but I just don't see any justification for this piece of inhumanity. I saw the first image and thought it looked like an interesting high school football stadium. The day perspective changed my mind about that, but then I realized it was a house. not bleachers, a house.

    god have mercy on us. we have lost our purpose.

  • Manuel

    It is a very nice, humane and interesting concept to drive a house design…

  • Dr.No

    If the owners like it… Anyway, I find it curious that they built the stairs to actually climb on them, is the view so nice?… Oh, and to protect their intimacy there are also other solutions…

  • plus

    the staircase concept first came to their minds then the client's ideas second.

  • gaijin

    at least they can invite over say 200 of their neighbors and watch the baseball/football or whatever sports they play in the field in front of the house (photo #7) … sorry but it just looks so much like a stadium stand that I had to comment on that :)

  • I'm a little surprised by the luke-warm tone of many of the comments. It might be sub-optimal in terms of purely practical issues like maximising floor space, but is certainly a nice concept.

  • SYoon

    Hmm, what are those many stairs for? I don't get it. What kinds of activities do the architect expect over the residential space on the stairs? Are they just to connect the ground level to the roof for residents to enjoy the scenery? or exercise for the kids? It is joyful to see this type of building realized, but I think the architect should have waited until a more suitable opportunity comes.

  • I think the architect overimposed their idea, and people have to live in accordance with this. They will soon get bored of this big useless stair, they will beg for a few more square feet of green area, they will regret their choice… and neighbours will say: Oh, these architects!

  • Lucy

    Really cool concept with poor execution. Looks as if they became too preoccupied with the giant staircase and never got around to designing the rest of the house.

  • Une très bonne idée!

  • Jamie

    If the owner has a strong sense of community and sharing his part of his house as a public space, why not? There is partition between private rooms and the semi public area barely have slits of probably 150-200mm glazing, your living window would have been much bigger and do you close it up with your curtain 24/7 for privacy? Japanese architecture is so different with western when they embrace nature a lot, their tatami mat history and bamboo structure are evident. Due to their insufficient land, many housing are very narrow but well design with the play of natural lighting. The exterior material could have been something modern but the contrast between interior and exterior gives an element of surprise. I would say it’s more a spatial experience than form.