ISSUE 62  |  Japonesque

10 Favorites: Smart and Skinny Houses in Japan

March 06, 2013 8:30 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Sitting on top of some of the most expensive property values in the world, the Japanese are fluent in narrow houses on sliver lots. Typically no wider than 15 feet, fitting in all the programmatic requirements requires real design ingenuity. Here are 10 favorites.

Above: In Osaka, Ido, Kenji Architectural Studio increase the available light to this narrow house by rotating the second floor by 14 degrees, angling a pair of rooms towards a large corner window. Photograph by Yohei Sasakura via Dezeen.

Above: Accommodating parking space on a limited lot influenced the design of the OH house by Atelier Tekuto. Photograph by Toshihiro Sobajima via Architizer.

On a narrow site in the Nagano section of Tokyo the name of this house 63.02 degrees by Schemata Architects refers to the angle it is inclined toward the front road resulting in a wide angle and deep view of the neighbor's cherry tree. Photo by Takumi Ota via This is Paper.

Unemori Architects laid out a house for a couple and their child to be as small as possible (13 ft X 13 ft) so that it could sit in the center of the of the 110 square foot plot and still have air and light flow around it. Image by via Architizer.

Above: The thin west wing of this Tokyo house by Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects is 30 feet high and less than 6 feet wide. Image via Dezeen.

Above: On an L-shaped property in Tokyo, Mount Fuji Architects Studio have built a narrow gate house that leads back to another part of the house: views from from both the street and internal courtyard. Photography by Shigeo Ogawa via Design Boom.

Above: Graphic red doors mark the entrance to a narrow house by Studio Loop in Tokyo. Photo by Kai Nakamura via HomeEdit.

Above: Tokyo and Seoul based Saitoshi Kurosaki of Apollo Architects & Associates have created floor to ceiling windows at the front of this narrow house to take advantage of the views of the park in front. Photograph by Mikihisa Matsuda via Apollo Architects & Associates.

Above: A narrow plot of land by the river in Tokyo dictates the floor plate of this house by Mizuishi Architect Atelier. Photo by Hiroshi Tanigawa via Design Boom.

Above: Built on a trapezoidal piece of leftover land, this house measures 2.5 feet at its narrowest point and just under 10 feet at its widest. Architect Yasuhiro Yamashita of Atelier Tekuto named it "Lucky Drops," which is the Japanese equivalent to "the best for last." Photograph by Makato Yoshida via Atelier Tekuto.

Looking for more clever ways to save space? See 442 images of Space Saving Ideas in our Gallery of rooms and spaces