By Beth Carter
Posting in Cities
In a densely packed Tokyo neighborhood, a Japanese designer has made a beautiful--and liveable house-- using just four square meters of space.
In the tightly packed cities of the world, with long-standing building codes and traditions, it's often difficult to imagine any new structures going up without something being torn down, or without moving to an area with more space.
This is as true here in New York, as it is in Tokyo, a city of over 13 million people, who live 16,000 people per square mile.
Unemori Architects, a Japanese firm run by Hiroyuki Unemori, decided to take on the challenge of building a house in a tiny lot in urban Tokyo, in this case just 34 meters squared. The final product, 4 meters (approx. 13 ft.) on each side, is fittingly called Small House.
Built for a married couple and their child, Unemori designed a space that is entirely liveable. His vision was to "exceed the physical narrowness" of living in the city.
Placed at the center of the site, leaving room to give the structure some light, the building itself is only four by four meters and nine meters high. The inside is very simple, and the four floors are joined together by a spiral stairway.
The windows were placed in a way to best harmonize with the surroundings-- and they look giant compared to the tiny rooms.
Unemori wrote, "every time the window opens or closes, the inside view dramatically changes. Especially, at the second and third floor there is a large hinged door each room, if it is opened, the inside of the room is enveloped in light and wind as if you are outside."
Unemori's design aimed to exceed what he calls the "segmentation" of the structure, to broaden the whole image of the house. Small House is a beautiful solution to the growing problem of space. The only thing: you have to go all the way upstairs to use the bathroom?
More photos below:
Images: Unemori Architects
Feb 28, 2012
If this is 4 x 4metres in plan, just how can it be 34 square meters in size? That plan is only 16 square meters large. If extrapolated to the 4 floors mentioned, then that is 64 square meters total floor space. What method of calculation are your journalists using? Or are they simply overwhelmed by any maths at all. Please get them an education.
Terrific idea but as people age and become more ambulatory limited, how would one access the upper floors? Replace the stairs with an elevator, perhaps. He provides an interesting solution for special niche.
It looks okay for a couple with no children, But the bathroom facilities appear quite exposed to the outside. It is okay if you are a nudist, otherwise a frosted film, from knee level to shoulder level, would be a satisfactory addition.
I love it. I would put it out in my woods, down by the swamp. It would be a great place to observe the wildlife with all the comforts of, well, home.
The headline said 4 square meters, a 2x2 m square. this is NOT the same as a four meter square shape. The editor should have caught this, but could be the problem by changing what Beth wrote. Or do contributing editors get edited?
You should read the text more carefully before you start insulting people. It's the lot the house is built on that is 34 square meters.