This small house from Shibuya, Tokyo, is set on a slim piece of land between two converging streets. The house, called “The Wall of Nishihara”, has been designed by the architecture firm Saboarch and is set on a site area of just 40 square meters (430 square feet).
The building itself covers an area of 24 square meters (258 square feet) and is just 3-by-8 meters (10-by-26 feet) in size. To compensate for the tiny footprint the architects have made the most of the available vertical space, with 6 offset floor levels and a roof deck enclosed within the structure. The final combined usable floor space amounts to 78 square meters (840 square feet).
The Wall of Nishihara features an unusual exterior facade composed of concrete but moulded to look like timber cladding – an attempt to make the building more “friendly” in appearance. The concrete walls are punctured by a number of small windows. This provides privacy for the inhabitant in a busy urban environment, while still allowing natural light into the building. Other areas of the home feature larger opening with frosted glass, such as the bathroom.
The staggered floor levels are accessed by a folded metal staircase in the center of the house. The architects have likened the experience of climbing the stairs to that of a climbing a tree: “The multi-levelled house is connected by a rope of stairs. The experience is like climbing up a tree to the sky, looking at the surrounding scenery.”
The area of the home featuring the staircase seems to be somewhat stark and dark. In contrast to this, some of the house’s rooms are brightly lit, with surfaces finished in wood bringing a sense of warmth to the space.
All told, the house contains a total of 7 different spaces – a kitchen/dining area, bathroom, an enclosed “garden”, a roof deck and three other rooms which are presumably used as bedrooms, or for storage.
For more Japanese houses check out House K in Tokyo which makes great use of cladding to provide privacy without impeding natural light. Or this origami inspired house in Japan’s Mie prefecture by TSC architects. See all Japanese houses.