Fuse Atelier's House in Tsudanuma brings light in through a perforated concrete facade


Square and circular holes puncture the concrete facade of this house in Japan by Fuse Atelier, allowing light to filter through to five small terraces concealed behind (+ movie).

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

House in Tsudanuma was designed by Chiba-based Fuse Atelier for a couple in their 40s, who previously lived in an older house on the site, but chose to replace it with a contemporary concrete home.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

The three-storey house is located in Narashino, a city 37 kilometres east of Tokyo, and on a busy road close to a railway station and several large shops.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

To block noise and vibrations from the road and maintain privacy for the owners, architect Shigeru Fuse designed a windowless concrete facade at the front.

He then added numerous terraces inside, which receive daylight through the square and circular holes.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

Noise is also minimised because the home is set back four metres from the street – a requirement from city planners to allow the road to be widened in the future.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

"The resulting open space at the front functions as a buffer between the street and the house," said Fuse.

"Upper parts of the building also had to be set back due to various legal limitations. As a result, the exterior was tapered between the second and third level."

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

The house contains a garage and gym on the ground floor, while a series of split levels across the two upper floors provide a more gradual passage through the interior.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

The living space is on the first floor, a kitchen is half a level up, and the bathroom is on the second floor. The home's only bedroom is another half a level up and there is also a roof terrace at the top.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

Two staircases crisscross a void in the centre of the house. One connects the rooms inside and the other connects the five small terraces, which are arranged next to the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, and at either edge of the roof space.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

"The vertically arranged outdoor space, with a passage that leads from the terrace on the second level to the rooftop, effectively breaks up the interior space," said Fuse.

"Combined with the flow planning of the interior, this also amplifies the building's overall ease of navigation."

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

Gaps were left between some walls and floors to increase views and light through the rooms, and between the various levels.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

"We layered a network of sight lines to inspire diverse spatial relationships," explained Fuse.

"An accumulation of associated parts creates gaps both horizontally and vertically, leading the eye through surprising escapes."

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

On the east-facing rear elevation, a large square window and smaller holes puncture the wall, mirroring the front of the house but set lower to bring light into the kitchen and living space.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

The house was built from reinforced concrete, which is left exposed inside and complemented by limestone flooring.

"By fully embracing the Minimalist details of concrete, glass, metal and rock, the space is intensified with a distinct sharpness, where the skeleton of the structure becomes visibly apparent," said Fuse.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

The house occupies a 63-square-metre footprint, has a total internal floor area of 153 square metres, and was completed over 16 months.

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse

Other concrete houses recently completed in Japan include a Tokyo home for an art collector and a cantilevered residence in Toyohashi with a large plywood-lined living space.

Photography is by Shigeru Fuse.

Project credits:

Architect: Shigeru Fuse
Design team: Fuse Atelier, Musashino Art University
Structural engineer: Ysutaka Konishi
Main contractor: Three F

House in Tsudanuma by Fuse
Site plan – click for larger image
House in Tsudanuma by Fuse
Floor plans – click for larger image
House in Tsudanuma by Fuse
Sections – click for larger image
  • J-S G

    Great sculpture, but a sad home.

    • inakies

      100% agreed.

  • Leo

    I love the facades, but the inside of this house seems to be a mess. Maybe it’s because “the space is intensified with a distinct sharpness”.

  • Colonel Pancake

    It looks like something a Kazakhstani oligarch would give to his pet tiger for its 16th birthday. I love it.

  • Guest

    This house is all movement, mainly stair. Houses need spaces that elicit calm, along with a feeling of safe haven. I’ve Tadao Ando in mind.

  • Jess Thinkin

    Dynamic spaces! Evocative volumes! Imaginative compositions! Stimulating interior views! I wouldn’t want to live there!

    • Lumbago Palladio

      Agreed. The architects are paper designers with no conception of the real world. A shame!

  • Marko Gligorov

    The house of thousand stairs!

  • Chris MacDonald

    That must be like living in a spaceship. Not for me.

  • michael badu

    Difficult not to respect, hard to admire.

  • Jess Thinkin

    Hint of a brain (fitting moniker) – you have no idea what my standards are. But you CAN be assured that I am well and seriously attuned to the art form of modern architecture; AND that I possess sufficient intellectual discipline – such that I never have to find it necessary to depend upon foolish unfounded assumptions, upon which to pin a polemic point!

    This building is an exiting statement of three-dimensional modern design, and possibly a tour d’force in reinforced and, perhaps, pre-stressed concrete structure – but it does NOT possess the soul of a “home”.

    • Get real. America has the worst architecture in the world. This is the standard that’s relevant to the conversation.

      It is the least influential discipline in the whole nation of any profession, and has been slowly sliding into further and further obscurity since the mid 1960s. No one cares.

      Sorry to break the news, but your assessment of what does not constitute a “soul” in a home is rather silly. The above article, even with the pics and plans, does not convey the beauty, complexity and sophistication that homes like these possess, as that quality is accrued over time, via experience. Japan has got it right.

      BTW, what do you mean by “exiting”, or “three-dimensional modern design”(what other kind is there?)???

  • Giulio

    Warm as a morgue.

  • Seven Painted Ladies

    These concrete houses have no soul. We do not see any photographs of the bedrooms, kitchens and other living areas. These concrete houses are failures and indicate a complete lack of imagination and humanity on the part of the “architects”.