An Offset Roof Isn't the Only Off-Kilter Thing About This Home in Japan

It's an energetic jumble of arched doorways, many mezzanines, a grand piano, and plenty of plywood.

Project Details:

Location:  Mitaka, Japan

Architect:  Seets, Spectacle

Builder/General Contractor: Konishi Structural Engineers

Footprint: 1,000 square feet

From the Architect: "The client requested that the house not be quite as open as nature, and that some space be closed for their comfort and protection—closed, yet similar in feel to standing amongst the trees. We started planning with this concept in mind.

"To fit in synergistically with the residential area surrounding the client’s house, one of the requirements was that the exterior should look like a ‘conventionally shaped house’. However, contrary to the exterior, the interior of the house is far from being conventional and has been developed as a one large shared space, with the hope that it would maximize the family time for the client’s family of three. In order to have private space within this large, shared space, smaller boxes, roughly equal to the size of one chestnut tree and its surrounding space were created. Having consulted with a structural engineer, these structures were placed within a comfortable distance from each other. The boxes themselves work as dividers of shared and private space, yet small windows created in the boxes allow other family members to sense their presence, sometimes seen and sometimes unseen. Smaller negative spaces between the structures were to be utilized to form the space of other rooms and a larger gap was allocated for a living room. Thus a varied dynamic of scale was achieved in the house. 

"In this gently divided space, just like walking between trees in nature, there is a continuity of space despite the divisions. As you walk around and inside the dispersed boxes within the house, or walk up and down the stairs, different views appear through the windows, such as the meadow under the kiwifruit vines, the top layer of large vine leaves and yellow thorns of young chestnuts beginning to grow."

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