When a Japanese couple asked architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka to design a small home that would evoke the Italian love of food, informal gatherings, and natural settings, the result was la dolce vita in Tokyo.
The entire interior wall opens, extending the house visually and socially into the small garden that lies between the multigenerational family’s two homes. The boys’ favorite feature is the soccer goalpost (which doubles as clothesline).
The magic wall-disappearing act is accomplished by means of sliding glass panels, which the family tends to leave open almost year-round. Miharu Higashibata says she feels the new home has strengthened the family bond through shared activities like cooking and gardening.
Hidekazu Higashibata wanted to recreate the same sort of feeling he’d experienced on trips to Italy—a long table, leisurely meals, and lengthy conversations. The boys discovered the home’s “second story” on top of the cabinetry and, armed with a ladder, like to perch there for better views.
The official “living room” may be the least-frequented locale, since the house and garden combine to create one big, interconnected living space. The whole was conceived as a modern take on the traditional Japanese sheltered veranda, or “engawa.”