Wooden Box

Skilled manipulation of simple wooden boxes creates a home that emanates Japanese simplicity and flexibility. Keisuke Kawaguchu + K2 Design created a modern home derived from centuries of proven Japanese architectural elements. The house makes the most of the natural environment while maintaining a calm privacy. Continue reading


Le 49

Two stacked and overlapping white rectangles rest on the top of Mount Kamakura in Japan, overlooking Sagami Bay’s stunning vistas. APOLLO Architects & Associates designed the sleek modern home for a husband and wife who left behind the bustling city life of downtown Tokyo. Continue reading



Any architect loves a challenging steeply sloped site. Shogo Aratani Architect & Associates used the dramatic drop of 11 meters from the top to the bottom to their clients’ advantage in Nishinomiya, Japan. Three volumes, totaling 140 sq.m., firmly step down the rocky slope on concrete foundations. Wrapped predominately in black painted horizontal wood siding, three rectilinear forms display the perfect amount of grace and solidity. Continue reading


House in Takamatsu

This diminutive home of just under 80 sq.m. houses a multi-generational family in modern yet ages-old Japanese clarity. A small and simple rectangular box wrapped in charred wood, is deceptive in the feeling of spaciousness that is hidden within. The entrance facades angles slightly back, to avoid crowding the street. A singular opening nearly touches the corner. It’s a covered entrance pocket with storage as well. The white coating makes it pop against the ebony siding. Continue reading


Flag Pole House

Making the most of a tiny, narrow building site in a densely populated city such as Tokyo is no easy feat. The flag pole house, a sculptural home, inside and out, is born from a spatially challenged site. Stretching out long and lean in both vertical and horizontal directions, the architects were able to maximize the compact interior space for complete and comfortable functionality. Continue reading


House Snapped: sliced with the finest Japanese steel

Located about 25 km north of Central Tokyo, this compact house sits on a small L shaped lot in an area of typically dense housing. Faced with the common Japanese need to squeeze a comfortable home onto a tiny (108sqm) site, Naf architects came up with the simple, powerful idea of “snapping” a stereotypical gable roof box to correspond with the bend in the lot. It feels like a scaled down barn that has been surgically sliced with the finest Japanese steel and opened out to create two separate volumes. Continue reading


Ground and Above Roof House: Light Manipulation


In Osaka, Japan, this family home for a couple and their two children rises to meet the lack of privacy and day light. The double height volume of the ground floor offers a typical arrangement of a shared kitchenette, dining, and enclosed storage. Though you may miss those when you enter the glass front door and are face to face with an igloo like structure! Or is it an olive green tent? Continue reading


Swallow House: Many Flights


In any situation it is best to go with the flow or bend like a willow and not break like an oak. The design of this home bends and flows with its challenging sloping site. In fact it uses the site to create a dynamic modern house whose light filled spaces contradict its small size of 124 sq.m. Continue reading


Yakushima Takatsuka Lodge: a respite for hikers

Picture yourself hiking through the forest of Kirishima-Yaku National Park, on the southern coast of Japan’s Yakushima Island. This subtropical island boasts mountains 2000 meters in height, ancient cedars, and its own unique sub-species of monkeys and deer. As a respite for hikers, the accomplished Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban, has designed a small cabin framed in timber with a steeply sloped corrugated metal roof to shed the abundant rain that is received here. You’ll be surprised to find this retreat along your trek, but even more surprised to learn what comprises the walls. Continue reading


Forest House in the city: life inside a diamond


In Toyokawa, Japan there’s a white inhabitable diamond called the Forest House. This two-story building of 140sqm captures our attention for its unusual shape and volume. The house was stretched across its rectangular site in order to generate space for small gardens filled with trees beside each wall. This ingenious design explores a fresh approach to conventional architectural boundaries. Continue reading