House J by Keiko Maita
Architect Office

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Rooms spiral up from a garden courtyard to a rooftop terrace at this family house in Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture by Tokyo studio Keiko Maita Architect Office.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office

Named House J, the two-storey residence contains three split levels that enclose the central courtyard. There are few external windows, but most face inward towards the courtyard.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office

Half-height staircases run along the east and west sides of the courtyard, creating the three split levels, while the secluded roof terrace begins at the top of the spiral.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office

"This house was designed for a client in need of privacy and seclusion from the outside," says Keiko Maita Architect Office, explaining the rationale behind the layout. "The continuity between the interior and exterior spaces increases the size of the house."

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office

The architects used horizontal timber siding to clad the exterior walls, plus wooden floors run through the entire house.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office

Part of the structure is raised up from the ground to allow a driveway for two cars to slot underneath.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office

Other recently completed houses in Japan include a weekend retreat shaped like a children's shape-sorter toy and an opaque house above a pet shop. See more Japanese houses on Dezeen, or see our Pinterest board filled with Japanese residences.

Here are a few extra details from Keiko Maita Architect Office:


House J

The "House J" is a small house (100m2) situated in Yamaguchi-prefecture, Japan. This house was designed for a client in need of privacy and seclusion from the outside. The site is narrow (120m2) and is surrounded by residences.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

The "House J" has three floors that are built around a small inner garden: 1st floor: dining room, kitchen, family space; 2nd floor: study, reading space; 3rd floor: bedroom.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office
First floor plan - click for larger image

The three floors are connected together by a roof terrace.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office
Second floor plan - click for larger image

The spaces of the house are open toward the inner garden. The inner garden is also visible from the roof terrace. The inner garden is exclusive in a narrow site but the continuity between the interior and exterior spaces increases the size of the house.

House J by Keiko Maita Architect Office
Cross section - click for larger image
  • http://www.aparejadorgranada.com Arquitecto Tecnico

    Bastante innovador, me ha encantado la terraza.

  • mike

    It’s funny to see that Japanese children never seem to fall ;-) I would add some fencing.

    • pierre

      I guess that if there where a significant number of accidents in Japan, they would make a law against the absence of fencing. It seems that the Japanese value self-comportment (don’t act silly) more than the added security (act the way you want, there is fencing).

      Hope it’s understandable, I wasn’t sure about how to formulate it.

  • JamieVB

    Is it just me thinking those kids are going to die?

  • macewan

    Story – drop the e "storey" ;-)

    • dc3

      “For the noun referring to a horizontal level of a building, story is the standard spelling in American English, and storey is preferred in all the other main varieties of English”.

  • yalearch

    A simple structure, whose most notable feature, to the architect, is the roof. The designer seems to have conceived this as a park-like environment accessible from a small window. One suggestion – to have allocated the same care and cleanliness that exists on the roof to the dirt floor of the courtyard.

  • http://twitter.com/covanderhoek @covanderhoek

    Very obedient kids I suppose…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/interior-design-ideas-and-tips ces @ home design

    While I love the uniqueness of this house design, I get nervous looking at the pictures of those kids in the rooftop especially the one sitting on the edge.

  • Jolhn

    Insert generic outraged health and safety comment here.

  • http://Www.triadmfg.com Greg

    The abscence of a safety railing for cleaner design is a dreadful design and a FUNCTION mistake.

    But what about the fact that other than a small 3rd floor toilet, the main bathroom is on the second floor with clothes storage on the 3rd?

    May work for some but hard to sell to most I would believe?

  • Andi

    Maybe it sounds outrageous for people in developed countries, but access to rooftops without any railings is very common in many parts of the world. Having moved from Indonesia to Canada I actually miss it very much. The same kind of experience (of having nothing above your head) seems to be very hard to have in Canada (and I assume most of the developed nations) unless you have a prime location with a big rooftop patio. I actually see this design as a move in the right direction (ie, that I want to see).

    As far as I know having access your house’s rooftops is very common in Japan as well, and this design is trying to replicate that. I do agree that it will be safer with a waist-height parapet though, seeing the age of the kids in the pictures.

  • Expat in Tokyo

    Japanese building regulations require 1.1m high balustrades for rooftops or any floor above two storeys in height. So either these pictures were taken before the balustrades were installed, or they cannot legally be deemed as a usable terrace.

    Regulations, cultural practice, or even clients’ requirements aside, no sensible architect would create such a dangerous playground for children, or consider parapets as safe leisure places for adults.

    May seem fashionable, but a very unhealthy trend by young Japanese architects.