Space – Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living

SpaceMichael Freeman

With building space at a premium in most large Japanese cities, architects who can fit building into tiny “eel nest ” spaces are always busy. This is a collection of some of the most innovative designs, often working with only 350-500 square feet. In addition, Japanese zoning laws require that 30% of a piece of property must be outside – i.e. a yard – and new buildings may not block the light or view of neighbors. While many are sparse beyond belief, most are still light and airy with open spaces to move. Using innovative stairways, glass walls and fold-away everything, these homes look surprisingly comfortable to live in. Unlike Wright’s failed Utopian designs which did not include closet space (he would provide everything a family would want or need with the house) these houses are designed with the specific needs of the owner in mind. Some have young children and need play areas, others want a kitchen but room did not allow, so the kitchen appliances and oven are ground level with a “trench ” to stand in. Brilliant and creative.