Narrow Home As Japanese Precedent

When a client comes to an Architects practice, SATORI & SCOUT are pretty sure that most might have an immediate response to the client owning a four metre wide plot. 'No house can be built there' will perhaps be an intuitive answer, yet Atelier HAKO Architects have other ideas. Successfully squeezing a three-storey house onto a site no larger than four metres in the city of Tokyo, it has become apparent of late that tall, skinny (no, not Latte) homes are all very popular across the Asian country.

Located in Shibuya (Japan), the House at Hommachi home features a multitude of open-plan spaces, split-levels, skylights and 'capsule' bedrooms, and without a single corridor in the entire home, every room is as wide as feasible and the staircase is located within the centre of the home to make such a layout possible. As the architects explain, "The dynamism, accompanied by the mixture of horizontal and vertical directions in the interior space of this house results in a unique and enjoyable sequence and a spacious barrier-free feeling." With the home's layout working vertically as much as it does in plan on every floor, SATORI & SCOUT believe this home could be absolutely perfect inspiration should you be limited by budget or space for your own contemporary home.

Seemingly common in recent years in Japan, these narrow homes are becoming more popular across other countries such as Vietnam, Spain and Poland and the biggest challenge that each has isn't for space or functional reasons, but for access to natural light. At the House at Hommachi, the home has three sides neighbouring other buildings, and so in this example, the home only has large windows to it's front. With as many windows and skylights as design-feasible, the home's overall finish is light and open plan, yet still well laid out and navigable.

With an entrance lobby and the master bedroom on the ground floor, and living space, dining area and the kitchen on the first floor, this home's inverted nature is both interesting and clever usage of space with regards to where light is needed for their daily functions. With two further bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor, the home is made complete by it's roof terrace.

A design worth studying if you are limited in space and still want that ever crucial aspirational lifestyle, read more at

Photography credit : Urban Arts

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