House in Futako-Shinchi
by Tato Architects

| 8 comments

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Wooden stairs climb up through a narrow lightwell inside this house by Japanese studio Tato Architects.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Located in Kanagawa, Japan, the house contains three storeys with split levels, some of which are connected by small wooden step-boxes.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

A glass-fronted bathroom is at the uppermost level and opens out onto a rooftop courtyard.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

The main bedroom is slightly sunken underground on the lowest level and is lined with timber.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

The house is positioned at the end of a long driveway and has a charred cedar facade.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Tato Architects also recently completed a hillside house on top of a glass box - see it here.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

See all our stories about Tato Architects »

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Photography is by Mitsutaka Kitamura.

Here's some extra information from the architects:


Many of urban housing lots in Japan these days have been divided into pieces to leave small, narrow spaces, where, in general, various functions are laid out around a stairway in the center of a single room. This may be a solution to fully utilize the limited space.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

My concern is whether it is comfortable to be in the house with the stairway and other details of the house always in sight. I dared divisions to limit the visibility to give a sense of expanse to the existing space.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

I coordinated, in a solid space of 4.8 by 7.4 meters floor space and 8.2 meters in height, six levels of floor, a stairwell through three floors with a skylight covering the top, another stairwell through two floors with another skylight covering the 1.5 by 1.5 meters top, an enclosed sun deck, etc.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

I used material serving both as structural member and fire resistant board for the basis of wall surface treatment to comply with strict fire prevention regulation, which allowed using finish of a broiled cedar of high durability and of a calm appearance.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

When you step in the entrance hall, you will be facing an atelier of concrete floor the level of which is the same as the outside ground surface. The client will ride his motorbike in for maintenance or for storage and for enjoying DIY hobbies there. On the left provided is a bedroom of half underground, where the entire interior is finished with paulownia wood for humidity control.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

From a little leveled up floor you will be stepping up to the dining and kitchen on the second floor, or further turn around and step up by three to the living room, or further turn right to the stairwell, or further turn to step up to the third floor. You will be thus rising spirally.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

The living room of open atmosphere with direct sunlight introduced through the three windows, the dining room of calm atmosphere with the skylight six meters above through which the sunlight is reflected down to fill the room with constant softness all the time, and a bathroom on the top floor filled with sunlight and yet privacy is secured – all these rooms of different nature are combined with coordination.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

The inside of the stairwells cannot be seen from each room but the sunlight is delivered to each room through the skylights and through the stairwells. This invisibility together with leaking light is giving a sense of ever expanding space in a small building.

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Project Name: HOUSE IN FUTAKOSHINCHI
Location: Kanagawa, Japan
District: a residential district
Use: House

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Site Area: 77.627áu
Bldg. Area: 35.05 áu
Gross Floor Area: 92.45áu
Bldg. Coverage Ratio: 60%
Gross Floor Ratio: 200%

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Bldg. Scale: Stories above Ground 3/ Stories below Ground 0
Structure: Wooden
Max. Height: 8.244m
Landscape Area: 0áu
Parking Lot: 2Cars

House in Futako-Shinchi by Tato Architects

Architects: Yo Shimada
Project Team: Tato Architects
Construction: Masashi Ouji
Complete year: 2010
Client: Anonymous
Design Period: May.2008-Apr.2009
Completion Period: Sep.2009-Jan.2010

  • http://www.siriusculture.com Will @ SC

    Wow, what an amazing design, I absolutely love the wooden work throughout the house. Nice feature.

  • pdj

    Finally a house without Eames remakes and even more surprisingly without door handles. Kudos!

  • sam

    Brilliant use of seemingly limited space. The Paulownia wood used for the skin of the building is beautiful

  • Philippe

    Great work. I love the stairs. I imagine myself living in this kind of space.

  • eel

    JUST AMAZING! Everything you need in a small space!

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com Chuck Anziulewicz

    It seems like nobody knows how to use space more efficiently than the Japanese, and I say that in the most postive, complimentary way. I would absolutely ADORE a home like this.

  • http://www.e-merkurijus.lt Prieskambario baldai

    Beautiful minimalist house.

  • http://architectureanddesign.info Anthony Fowler

    I very much enjoy the stark minimalism. This home has the perfect bones to build upon. I would incorporate subtle tones of color throughout the space probably a dark green. I wonder how would you design this home if it were yours?