Muji to test prefab house by letting a competition winner live in it for free

Japanese design brand Muji has revealed the prototype for its latest prefab house, which it will test by having a competition winner move in rent-free for two years (+ movie).

Located in the seaside city of Kamakura in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture, the ready-constructed dwelling is named the Window House after the assortment of frameless openings that characterise its facade. It is adapted from a 2008 design developed for the brand by architect Kengo Kuma.

Muji to test prefab house by letting a competition winner live in it for free

In order to test the prototype, the Minimalist retailer is inviting one person – along with their family or chosen flatmates – to live in the home for two years.

In exchange, the residents will be required to provide regular feedback to Muji's researchers and designers about their living experience. The winner will be picked based on an application process.

Muji to test prefab house by letting a competition winner live in it for free

With two storeys and a total floor area of at least 80 square metres, the house is the largest prefab dwelling so far from Muji.

The company's previous models have included the Vertical House, created to fit into the narrow spaces of Japan's cities, and three different holiday huts by designers Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukasawa. Kuma also developed another design, the Tree House, for the company in 2009.

The Window House can be configured to the size and orientation of the plot it is being placed on. It comes in sizes ranging from six by seven metres squared to 10 by seven metres squared.

Muji to test prefab house by letting a competition winner live in it for free

With an exterior modelled after English stone country houses, the dwelling has a pitched roof, white walls and windows on all four sides. The windows are frameless and arranged to emphasise their irregular sizes.

For the competition winner, the house will be fully furnished with items from Muji. Although the competition is open to international entrants, it is a requirement that the winner be fluent in Japanese in order to fulfil their obligations as a test subject.

Muji to test prefab house by letting a competition winner live in it for free

Muji previously ran a similar competition in 2012 when it was trialling Kuma's Tree House.

The Window House will be located 15 minutes' walk from Kamakura Station. The competition closes on August 31, and the winner will be notified in October. They will move into the house in March 2017.