With increasing land shortage in the capital city of Japan, people are opting for uniquely designed skinny homes that are only about a few feet wide. Instead of a palatial residence in the suburbs, working couples and parents are choosing tiny houses right in the middle of the already-crowded city. For instance when Tomoya and Naomi Sato bought a 27-feet deep and only 12-feet wide plot in Central Tokyo, they got in touch with Osamu Nishida, an architect of ON Design Partners. Today they are the proud owners of what is likely one of the skinniest homes in Tokyo.
While the design itself is extremely unusual, the actual construction of the house proved to be an even trickier job. Cramped between the walls of two already-existing buildings, the structure consists of two, different parts. One of the sections, measuring only about five feet in width, contains the main living quarters, while the adjoining portion houses an external staircase. The catch, you ask? Well given the minuscule size of the plot, one can go from one room to the other only by means of a short bridge located on the outside. Speaking about the project, Nishida says:
It’s a space to let the laundry dry and allow the residents to sit on the bench and enjoy fresh air. The house internalizes the surroundings of a densely populated neighborhood… To live in a small home, you have to give up a lot because you can’t squeeze everything in it. But that helps you realize what’s really important to you.
According to the owners of the house, changing rooms can indeed be quite a challenge. First they have to step outside, navigate through a narrow bridge to an interior staircase, then climb up the steps and finally out onto the bridge again, from where they can get back inside. The gap, in between the two sections, makes provision for ventilation as well as entry of light. Unfortunately, however, housing rules in Tokyo dictate that 40-percent of every plot should be treated as outdoor space. This means that the space, containing the bridge, would have to be left uncovered. Tomoya Sato says jokingly:
When there is a rainstorm, we get wet.
Situated in Bunkyo Ward, the 550-square-feet house contains three floors. The ground floor features a kitchen-cum-dining space, while the bedroom and living areas are present on the upper floors. The bedroom is just wide enough to place a queen-sized mattress. Despite the house’s cramped location, large windows in each of the rooms create a sense of spaciousness. More than half of its $420,000 (¥50 million) price was spent on the plot itself.
Via: Wall Street Journal