House NA from 2011 has glass walls and a steel structural frame containing a matrix of tiny rectangular rooms and outdoor terraces, each on a separate floor level linked by stairs, ladders, or movable steps. Hemmed in by neighboring homes on three sides and a narrow street in front, the house belongs to a couple clearly at ease with Tokyo’s urban condition.
Imai House by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates Sasaki also loosened up the potentially confining space with an excess of natural light. High windows in the main living area bath the space in natural illumination, while the staggered series of smaller windows in the children’s rooms function like portholes. Photo provided by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates
Storey calls this house the “Eel’s Nest,” after the narrow urban properties that go by that name in Japan. Its façade was originally going to be wood, but because of local building codes and the fact the building is built along the edge of the property line, the exterior had to be fireproof. Storey covered it with stucco instead. “I wanted it to look as rough as possible,” says the architect. “Since it’s such a small house, it needed to be tough-looking.” The workshop at ground level measures less than 200 square feet, but is set up to accommodate any kind of woodworking or welding; when not in use, the architect parks his car inside.