Japanese Architects Squeezes House Onto Tiny Plot

What do you do with a 398ft2/37m2 small plot squeezed in between two existing properties? Well the Japanese firm “Fujiwarramuro Architects” made a family house with a parking spot, a bright living room, two rooms for the children, a bed room and an underground storage space with a low ceiling.  The house is situated in a residential area in the heart of the city of Kobe, where property prices are high, so you really have to utilize every square foot

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nada2 Kopi - Japanese Architects Squeezes House Onto Tiny Plot

A unique element of the house is the red cedar wood fixed to the exterior façade.  Due to fire prevention regulations in the region, only incombustible materials can be utilized for construction.  Thus, the wood used had to be specially treated in order to be authorized as an incombustible material.  Special treatment of course means that the material is quite costly.  However, one merit of having a small house is that the quantity of material needed is less, which makes it easier to use high-quality raw materials even if they are a bit pricey.

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When you enter the house the bath room is visible on the left.  The line of vision from within the tub is connected to the entranceway so that one can gaze upon the mountain bikes parked there, while taking a bath.  The floor of the entrance hall is fitted with slats of wood and is structured to drain water so that the children can throw open the windows to the bath room and use the area to splash and play.

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The 2nd floor is for the kitchen, dining area and living room.  In order to create a sense of connection to the 1st floor, the floor underneath the dining room table is also constructed of slats of wood.  From across the flooring, one can look down at the first floor and see the entrance hall and the bath room below.  Looking upwards, one can see a vaulted ceiling with a skylight set into the roof.  Sunlight enters from the skylight and illuminates the 3rd floor, but the light also reaches the 2nd floor and even down to the 1st floor through the slats in the wood.  The skylight can also be open and shut.  When the window is propped open, it allows wind to pass through all three floors.

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On the 3rd floor are the two children’s rooms and the bedroom.  The floor area in the children’s rooms is only 3 m2.  Added to that size, the wall dividing the two rooms is a bunk bed with access to the upper bunk in one room and the lower bunk in the other.  Fortunately, the building regulations for this site allowed for a tall building.  Thus, the architects were able to keep the house from seeming cramped by giving it high ceilings that draw one’s gaze upward.  Making use of the height of the ceilings in the bedroom, they created a loft to establish more storage space.  Shelves were also placed evenly along the wall of the atrium from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor, extending from the ground level all the way up to the skylight.

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Another feature of the house is its rooftop space.  The rooftop can be reached by climbing through a hatch accessible from the loft above the bedroom. From the rooftop, there is a panoramic view of Mt.Rokko and in the summertime you can watch the nearby fireworks display.

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