House T by
Tsukano Architect Office


A narrow vertical slice at one corner is the only interruption to the monolithic facade of this plain white house in Miyazaki, Japan, by Hiroshima studio Tsukano Architect Office (+ slideshow).

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Designed with a simple rectilinear shape, the austere two-storey residence has a single window slotted into its narrow opening, as well as a dark corridor that leads down inside.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

A door at the end of the corridor opens into the house's dining room, set around a metre below ground level, where a large window reveals a courtyard concealed behind the blank facade.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

This courtyard spans the width of the building and is overlooked by every room inside. Its surface is at the same level as the ground outside the walls, but it also lines up with worktops in the kitchen and a concrete breakfast bar in the dining room.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Tsukano Architect Office designed the house with two almost-identical floor plans, creating a living room directly over the dining room, a kitchen that lines up with the upstairs bedroom and the study with a bathroom exactly overhead.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Surfaces are finished in a mixture of exposed concrete, timber panels and white plaster.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Architect Michiya Tsukano describes his intention to protect the house from the noises of the road and the overbearing surrounding buildings using an encasing "white plate". He explains: "With the white plate, the house can be separated from the outer crowdedness, while sunlight is allowed to come into the courtyard."

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

House T is one of the first completed projects by Tsukano Architect Office. Other recently completed houses in Japan include a home with a crooked blue spine and a residence in a converted warehouse. See more Japanese houses on Dezeen.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Photography is by Kenichi Asano.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Here's a short description from Michiya Tsukano:


This scheme has been planned for the downtown in Miyazaki, located in southern Japan.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

The road in front is so busy and noisy, and there are tall buildings for residence at the south. Considering all these factors, I came up with a brilliant idea to harmonize with the circumstances having a piece of white plate wrap the whole home space.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

With the white plate, the house can be separated from the outer crowdedness, while sunlight is allowed to come into the courtyard, which makes inner space warm and brighter.

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Architect: Michiya Tsukano/Tsukano Architect Office
Structural design: Hiroshi Okamoto, Tomoe Tsukano
Location: Miyazaki, Japan

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Site area: 172.38 sqm
Building area: 59.47 sqm
1F floor area: 50.15 sqm
2F floor area: 57.99 sqm
Total floor area: 108.14 sqm

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Structure: RC
Principal use: residence

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Above: ground floor plan

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Above: first floor plan

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Above: cross section

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Above: long section

House T by Tsukano Architect Office

Above: elevations

  • Concerned Citizen

    Are you sure this is in Japan? Remember, they say they are different in Japan, like placing the bathroom in the living room. But this one actually has a bathroom off the master bedroom. Amazing.

    • Mary anne Enriquez

      The western world is a huge influence in modern architecture in Japan. Homes are ever more embracing the materials and appliances of Europe and North America. For example, the tub in the bathroom (photo above) is a western design. Traditional Japanese tubs were small squares. I have not heard of “tubs in the living room” – are you referring to very old houses or one room homes?

      There is much “western” modernism in this home, no tatami mats for example. Globalization is influencing everyone, every place. There are even ugly American looking tract homes now in Japan. They look just like suburban Chicago region subdivisions!

      I celebrate this home shown here because it embraces the history of zen Japanese culture, and yet brings it into the 21st century. They have not abandoned their ancient traditions. It’s very successful IMHO.

  • Soupdragon

    I take it they don’t get on with the neighbours?

    • Rob

      What neighbours?

    • Laura

      They can see them from above, anyway.

  • wts

    Give it a couple years and that facade will be dirty and disgusting. I hope they keep up with the maintenance. Also, the elevation drawings are hilariously minimal.

    • M.S.

      Did you see the facades? They are quite minimal as well.

  • eric

    Are Japanese architects aware of something called the outside world? Because all I see is inward-looking houses that have no connection whatsoever with their surroundings.

    • Mary anne Enriquez

      This is traditional Japanese austerity interpreted with modern materials. Nothing really new here. It has to do with Buddhism and this structure is not unlike the ideas behind the traditional tea house and its rituals.

      We seem to be judging this with a typical western mind, and that is unrealistic.

      This will be an amazing place for meditative work with no distractions. I get it!

      • Sure. Go there, meditate, then leave. Actually, claustrophobia comes to mind rather quickly.

      • Amarindra Rana

        Totally agree with Mary.

  • sor perdida

    Austere yet warm on the inside, with a multitude of interesting spaces concentrated on a very small footprint, this house excedes my notion of beauty and the sublime to some extent. I may be excused: I love it.

  • james

    Modest and rich at the same time. This is what happens when you begin a design with a clear parti and don't cock it up.

  • Davide

    Please, apply some Bansky!

    • Mary anne Enriquez

      If this building were in London, NYC, or even my home of Chicago… yes! If it were in Boston, they would grow ivy all over it. In California, maybe a vertical food garden on its walls. But here in Japan it’s perfectly suited and I am quite sure they will keep it pure and white as its a symbol of Zen purity and simplicity. Concepts that are in keeping with the “Karesansui” (“dry landscape” raked sand and rock) gardens in front. I just would need some Suiseki (rocks) and some bonsai plants as this is a bit too severe in its austerity for me.

  • Visually pleasing but in my opinion this is just an extended, padded white room. I would be eager to know the mental states of the people who will live here after a month or so.

  • Dan K

    I want a view. Even if the world is messy! My eyes need to breath!

  • anindividual

    Someday I would love to understand Japanese zoning and bylaws, if indeed there are any. So many of these houses are horribly sited and out of context with their environment. I understand the shortage of land, but you would think that would encourage planning and better use.

    What are the setbacks from the apartment building next door and it’s balconies? Yuck. Then there is that recent house from a few days ago that looked interesting but was plonked in a parking lot under power towers. Really? That land would have been better off used for commercial or industrial purposes.

    On a related note, I think this is the first Japanese house featured here that I’ve seen handrails on stairs at least. Most of the others appear to be built by people with no forethought to how people will live in them. Seriously, are these architects too cool for basic safety?

  • Peter scorer

    This looks like a frivolous tomb. But seriously, how much privacy do they need?

    • Mary anne Enriquez

      Its not about privacy! You just have to study Japanese Buddhist culture and traditional ways of living. I just really wish people would stop judging with a western world mindset.

      Overall, about all these negative comments: I would have expected more intelligence from Dezeen readers.

      • Nauwdt

        Do you have a preference for a book that could teach me more about the culture? I’m very interested but don’t know where to begin.

  • DKinterests

    I think the interphone next to the door should be on the right of the door, not on the left. What do you think?

  • Roberto Vilchis

    I am not sure if I like the concept. My young children would go mad if the only thing that they see through the windows is a wall.

  • julia

    I'd go mad living in a house like that.

  • fitty

    Where I come from, staring at a wall is a form of punishment. Seriously, although I can understand the cultural differences where these values of privacy and quality of light might have some sort of significance in this part of the world, I can’t get these urban regulations.

    Come to think of it, maybe staring at a wall and gravel might not be that bad considering the alternatives.

  • Nice

    I wish I could build a house like this in London.

    Shut out the world entirely. A sanctuary. Inside my home is different from being outside in the city.

    I am really into that concept, even though I understand that others might not be.

  • Donkey

    As an agoraphobia hobbyist I love this place. No one can get to me and I don’t have to face anyone. Like a cosy underground den. Perfect.

    Not sure on the practicalities of the main entrance though. Good luck getting a sofa and beds down there. :D

    • Mary anne Enriquez

      Ha ha, me too. But if they are going with exacting Japanese tradition they will use futons, which can be rolled up to get through the door. As for a “sofa” that is not a traditional Japanese style. That being said, perhaps they could get furniture though a window?

      Traditional Japanese tea houses you have to crouch or crawl into them. You sat on the floor, perhaps on a cushion or a tatami mat. There was no “furniture” . We keep assuming the entire world lives and thinks as we westerners do, but I am so thankful some are holding on to their historic cultural traditions. There is much to be admired here: living simply and editing down not only one’s possessions, but one’s brain-stewed thoughts in this overly stimulating world.

      I too would love an art studio/home like this. But a bigger courtyard, with greenery, and more light, perhaps a goldfish pond also.

    • Gues

      Considering the Japanese sit and sleep on the floor, and traditionally do not use beds or furniture, that wouldn’t really be much of a problem, now would it?

  • pierre

    And the only window that could give a visual escape outside is made of frosted glass.

  • Greg

    Absent of true functionality, flow and use! Not the type of lifestyle and living conditions most people would enjoy or support.

  • Smellylou

    At least you could walk around most rooms naked without being seen.

  • Kaito

    Unsuitable for living, unsuitable for meditation, plain unsuitable work of sculpture with an enforced “living” aspect. A beautiful, functionless bunker. Philosophy of Zen may be “nothing”, however that “nothing” is directed to one’s own persona, not to the surrounding world.

    By expecting nothing one is capable to experience the world in its full beauty, which would describe Zen in a nutshell. Putting a person in a white box will achieve isolation that will bring absolute contradictory aspects of the Zen philosophy, since their only preoccupation will be with themselves.

  • bubble

    Japan is an island culture, and this is reflected in this house. As a foreigner living in Japan sometimes I want to bang my head on the wall for close-mindedness of some of the Japanese people that surround me. Before I came here it seemed that this country is a place of innovation but after living here, it competes with other nations maybe only in technology.

    In architecture all I can say that the looks are deceptive, Japanese architecture is all about how it looks but it is not comfortable for living. Japanese houses are not performative, in terms of comfort level it is like living in a “barn” with very thin walls, but the “barn” is beautiful. Dying place, sadly.

  • Anatole

    It makes me want to become a graffiti artist. Such a plain canvas in the open, must… resist…

  • Doris

    I love the way the wetroom was created within the bathroom. Would like to do the same thing in our new built and wonder how the glass panels are fixed to the wall. Suggestions please!

  • Mr White

    I see only two real options for the facade. Full height mirrors or wall plants.

  • Sergy

    It is fascinating how diverse Japanese clients are! On one hand, a lot of them clearly desire houses with solid perimeter walls that create a perfect residence for meditation and a respite from chaotic street life, and on the other, e.g. like many houses designed by Sou Fujimoto, are all about connecting to the outside and almost deliberate removal of privacy.

  • AJes

    This is too minimal, even for minimalists.

  • Fede

    Nice jail.

  • nnnen

    I’d be crazy if I lived in that house. Too minimal white. That house ignores human emotion.

  • vecciora

    I don’t know what they are thinking but I don’t want to live in this kind of house.