Danchi Hutch


This boxy house in Kyoto by Yoshihiro Yamamoto Architects Atelier (YYAA) has a narrow body intended to recreate the proportions of Japanese government-built apartments of the 1950s, 60s and 70s (+ slideshow).

Danchi Hutch by YYAA

Japanese architect Yoshihiro Yamamoto designed the house for a mother and grown-up son that had previously lived in one of the narrow apartments of one of Japan's many Danchi complexes. These large housing developments are often referred to as slums, but are also known for fostering close communities.

Danchi Hutch by YYAA

"When the clients consulted us to build their new residence, they requested a too-narrow house, although the site is large enough," said Yamamoto. "Danchi was the most precious lifestyle for them. So we designed a minimal house like in a Danchi."

Danchi Hutch by YYAA

Named Danchi Hutch, the two-storey house accommodates a garage at a ground level, while the second floor contains two traditional Japanese rooms with a kitchen and dining room between and bathrooms on one side.

Danchi Hutch by YYAA

Sliding partitions allow the rooms to open out to one another, creating a large open-plan space when required.

Danchi Hutch by YYAA

A timber structure is left exposed inside the house. Walls, floors and ceilings are lined with timber boards, although the Japanese rooms also have tatami mats across the floors.

Danchi Hutch by YYAA

Danchi Hutch is the fourth Japanese house featured on Dezeen this month, following a cantilevered residence with a tree inside and a house with a facade designed to look like a picture frame. See more Japanese houses on Dezeen »

Photography is by Yohei Sasakura.

Here's a few extra details from Yoshihiro Yamamoto:

This small house is designed for a craftsman and his mother. They had lived in a Danchi for a long time. Danchi is notorious Japanese housing complex. Since it is too narrow, it is often called "the rabbit hutch." When the clients consulted us to build their new residence, they requested a too-narrow house, although the site is large enough. As a matter of fact, Danchi was most the precious lifestyle for them. So we designed a minimal house like in a Danchi, which has only three small rooms and a garage.

Danchi Hutch by YYAA
Site plan - click for larger image

Project name: Danchi Hutch
Architect: Yoshihiro Yamamoto | YYAA
Location: Kyoto, Japan

Danchi Hutch by YYAA
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

Typology: house
Construction: June - Dec 2012
Structure: wooden structure

Danchi Hutch by YYAA
First floor plan - click for larger image

Site Area: 109 sqm
Building Area: 80 sqm
Floor Area: 80 m2 (1F 40sqm, 2F 40sqm)

  • south

    I like it a lot. With a few refinements in fittings and materials those mass-produced Japanese houses can be perfect living spaces.

    I only hope the client has a decent workspace and a locking door between him and his mother.

  • Vincent

    I usually love how Japanese houses combine refined materials and nice interiors into a seemingly simple exterior.

    This one is actually horrible on all fronts.

    The wood is cheap underlayment. The windows force you to look into the neighbours bedroom (and vice versa). The space: I don’t see anything noteworthy.

    And there are all those things and boxes sticking on the facade: what are those? Get rid of it.

    It’s also absolutely ignorant of it’s surroundings. Even when taking the assignment of building a small and narrow house on a corner plot in mind, this could have been improved on all fronts.

  • Jonathan

    Looks like a dodgy backstreet garage.

  • Gimmeabreak

    What I don’t get is why are they so generous with a garage space on a ground level, while it forces them to have such small living spaces upstairs.

    The ground floor could easily fit another room, like a study, and another bathroom.