A Concrete Tiny House in Tokyo Opens to the Sky—and the Street

A Concrete Tiny House in Tokyo Opens to the Sky—and the Street

By Kate Reggev
In a city known for its density and small residences, this tiny home employs skylights and a large glass door to connect with its environs.

Architect and architecture professor Takeshi Hosaka was tired of the long commute from his home in Yokohama to his university on the outskirts of Tokyo, so he decided to purchase a small lot in Tokyo and design his own home. The lot measures 340 square feet, however Hosaka and his wife decided that just 200 square feet would be enough space for the two of them.

After living for 10 years in another house Hosaka designed in Yokahama, the couple decided to move to Tokyo for an easier commute.

While designing the home, Hosaka considered other houses that were of a similar size: Le Corbusier’s Cabanon, House Hyazinth by Tachihara Michizo, and even a house from a book that his wife was reading at the time. 

The 200-square-foot house takes advantage of a tiny strip of greenery outside the front entry to the home. The sliding glass door allows for interactions with their neighbors and those passing by on the street. The main entrway to the home lies off to the side.

Hosaka designed the home with specific functions in mind—he knew he wanted to include room for a bathtub, the couple's collection of 300 records, a kitchen that would fit a clay pot for boiling rice, a reading nook, and a spiritual space.

Concrete lends texture to the interior without overwhelming it—the high ceilings and wood floors balance the aesthetic.

While conducting sun simulations, Hosaka found that the site receives virtually no direct sunlight for 3 months during the winter. Disappointed but unfettered and determined to find a solution, Hosaka looked to Scandinavian countries and the way they address similar problems. 

The two curves of the roof meet at the center, creating a sculptural skylight that bounces light off a dividing plane of concrete.

This led to the form of the house, which provides natural light regardless of the season. Two curved roofs with open skylights at the apex bring in soft winter sun and bright summer sun. The home's unusual geometry is constructed from thick, stocky precast reinforced concrete panels. 

The skylights provide daylight throughout the year—even when direct sunlight doesn't come through the front or back glass windows.

The house contains three main zones: a dining area, a kitchen, and a bedroom. Concrete elements extend from the walls to serve as built-in furniture—as seen in the kitchen countertop and the structural elements of the shelving in the storage area. 

The high ceiling gives the space a sense of monumentality despite its small footprint. Simple furnishings with warm tones and textures keep the space from feeling too stark and cold.

At the front of the house, a large glass door allows the homeowners to interact with neighbors—children walking home from school, friends walking their dogs, and others who happen to stroll by. This opening to the street makes the small home feel bigger. 

The couple made decisions about the home together—from the appropriate size, to the types of spaces they needed.

The dining area is towards the front of the home near the street. The kitchen and toilet are in the middle of the home, and the bedroom and shower are at the back of the home.

The bedroom opens out onto a small rear deck with potted plants and an outdoor shower.

The concrete walls continue into the shower room, where tile floors provide a different scale but a similar color palette.

The structure of the home serves multiple functions—here, blocky elements form half-walls and shelving components.

The skylight is both sculptural and functional. The light it provides varies from bright and clear to more ethereal and evocative.


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