13 Spiraling Platforms Increase Space and Connection in This One-Room Home

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In Osaka, Japan, a family's request for closeness is answered with this unique single-room design.

Designed by Japanese studio Tato Architects, the rationale for the eclectic layout addresses the family’s desire for seamlessly linked interior spaces that facilitate a sense of closeness. Scroll ahead to see how this one-room dwelling has been built on various levels, all connected by a spiraling sequence of wooden steps and platforms.

Because of the property's dense and developing location, the architect proposed a design that factors in the likelihood of tall buildings being constructed around it.

Because of the property's dense and developing location, the architect proposed a design that factors in the likelihood of tall buildings being constructed around it.

"The client requested that the members of the family can feel close to each other regardless of where they are in the house," says Yo Shimada, founder of Tato Architects. 

The different platforms give the family freedom to organize their furniture and possessions however they want.

The different platforms give the family freedom to organize their furniture and possessions however they want.

The family of three was looking to create a space that was as transparent and open as possible, so they did not want any private rooms or covered storage areas in the house.

The wooden steps add a sense of warmth to the simple minimalist interior.

The wooden steps add a sense of warmth to the simple minimalist interior.

"The spatial structure that is constructed by repeating a simple autonomous system is similar to an ‘echo chamber’, which amplifies the innermost lifestyle of the client, and conveys a sensitivity that expands without limit," explains Shimada.

A space of 2.3 feet between the platforms allow the floor surfaces to double up as shelves, tables, or seating.

A space of 2.3 feet between the platforms allow the floor surfaces to double up as shelves, tables, or seating.

The 535-square-foot building has an interior volume that’s about the same scale as a two-story house. Within this volume, Shimada has created a series of 13 angular platform floors that serve as multi-functional zones. This has resulted in the creation of close to 1,018-square-feet of usable floor space spread across the different levels.

Angular, flag-shaped platforms increase floor space vertically.

Angular, flag-shaped platforms increase floor space vertically.

Each platform is positioned 2.3 feet above the platform below it, and the difference in height allows the floor surfaces to have multiple purposes, as they can serve as shelves, tables, or seating.

A coat rack is located at the entrance of the house.

A coat rack is located at the entrance of the house.

The floor on the entrance level—which accommodates a coat rack and bike storage—spirals upward along two sides of the space, and converges at a central living area before separating and ascending toward the main bedroom and bathroom at the top of the house. From there, steps lead to two rooftop terraces.

A study area is illuminated by windows on three sides.

A study area is illuminated by windows on three sides.

"By using this combination of two spirals, we were able to create multiple paths inside the house that allow different room compartments so the home can accommodate changes in the lifestyle of the client," states Shimada.

The underside of the corrugated metal platform floors are left exposed.

The underside of the corrugated metal platform floors are left exposed.

The framework that supports the 13 floors was constructed with steel to conform with local fire regulations, and the platform floors were made of steel beams. 

A bathroom leads out to one of the roof terraces.

A bathroom leads out to one of the roof terraces.

The lower six floors are raised on 0.25-feet-high square steel pipes, while the seven floors on the top are suspended from the roof beams with 0.07-feet-long steel rods.

The living area at the heart of the house ascends up to the bedroom and bathroom.

The living area at the heart of the house ascends up to the bedroom and bathroom.

A short set of timber steps with black metal frames connect each of the platforms, and bring a sense of warmth to the white, minimalist interior. 

The house has two sun-drenched rooftop terraces.

The house has two sun-drenched rooftop terraces.

Once the family moved in, they began filling the various platforms with their furniture and possessions, creating an eclectic and highly personalized space that will expand organically as their lives unfold.

Sectional perspective.

Sectional perspective.

Floor plan drawings.

Floor plan drawings.

Project Credits:

Architecture: Tato Architects

Builder: Seiyu Construction Company

Structural engineering: Takashi Manda Structural Design