Japanese Architecture Maximizes Small Spaces


January, 2018


Here at J-Tech, we specialize in everything from window and door unit installation, to new metal roofs and gutters. Every piece of a home construction project brings something special to the look and feel of a new house. In Japan, that’s no different. Unfortunately, the island of Japan has limited space for its large number of residents, so architects have to get creative with their projects. One example of this is the House in Horinouchi, designed by Kota Mizuishi. The 52 square meter space near a river on the West side of Tokyo was built specifically to fit a small, triangular plot of land. The goal during construction was to make the space feel larger, even when the plot of land was less than spacious. This week, we’re taking a look at the Horinouchi House and how Mizuishi made more with less.


Why Was It Built?

The space was built as a family home. Currently the residents are a couple and their young daughter. Before the house was built, a small, oddly shaped piece of real estate that had been simply an oversight in city planning. Special permissions were needed to make a residential home in the acute triangular space. With over 127,000,000 residents living in fewer than 150,000 square miles of island, the home is an expression of residents’ ability to live large, even in confined quarters.

Saving Space With Triangular Shapes

One of the most challenging concepts to contend with during the home construction project was the shape of the land itself. The long, triangular plot of land made building a traditional rectangular home impossible. Thinking outside the box, the designer opted for a two-story (plus loft), triangular home, and the top floor extends past the ground floor to create a small, covered parking space in lieu of a garage. In just 52 square meters, or approximately 560 square feet, the home has one bathroom, a living space, and a small hall for storage and such on the first floor; the kitchen/dining combo, a living space, and spare room/bedroom on the second floor; and a loft just above the second floor living space which is used as the master bedroom. There’s also a small deck area just off the second floor living space which overlooks the river.


Big Windows Make Spaces Larger

The part of the Horinouchi House which makes it appear larger than it is comes from its open floor plan which allow for plenty natural light. Large windows run along both sides of the second floor of the home, illuminating the entire home with natural light for the better part of the day. Smaller windows, including a skylight, dot the sides of the home. Installing large windows, along with other, smaller ones in strategic locations, enhances the small space making it feel bigger and more open. Architect Kota Mizuishi truly did more with less in designing this home.

Want to see how new windows can enhance the feel of your space? Call the exterior experts at J-Tech today to discuss your options!

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