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An Inventive Sliver of a House in Tokyo by No. 555

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An Inventive Sliver of a House in Tokyo by No. 555

February 9, 2018

Presented with an impossibly narrow slice of land in Tokyo’s Ota-ku suburb, architects Takuya Tsuchida and Kano Hirano of No. 555 came up with the HSK Subako (the owners’ initials plus “birdhouse”). Known for their tell-it-like-it-is brand of design, No. 555 create dwellings that celebrate everyday materials and allow the stuff of life to be on view.

The owners of this particular perch are a product designer and architect couple. And since the former needed a place to work from home and to store his many bikes, fishing rods, and other gear, the architects accommodated with an entry that doubles as a workshop and store room. Unable to build out, the architects built up: Each of the two stories has a loft. And they detailed the house with matching birdhouse-like covered balconies on the front and back that light the living space and offer the owners a broad outlook from their little domain.

Photography by Ryoma Suzuki, courtesy of No. 555.

the back of the house abuts a verdant park. the structure with the wooden balco 17
Above: The back of the house abuts a verdant park. The structure with the wooden balcony is roughly 13 feet wide and 32 feet deep. It’s composed of fiber cement panels that No. 555 flipped so that the rough, usually hidden side is exposed.

The Living Floor

an open kitchen runs along the second floor anchored by living and dining balco 18
Above: An open kitchen runs along the second floor anchored by living and dining balconies at either end.

The floor is wide-paneled oak with a brushed finish.

the open kitchen is composed of larch plywood finished with translucent white&# 19
Above: The open kitchen is composed of larch plywood finished with translucent white Osmo Wood Wax—a combination also used for the wall storage, vent cover, and Miele dishwasher panel. The counter is stainless steel and under the cooktop is a shallow fish grill.
no closed doors: a muji refrigerator and shelves with a microwave and toas 20
Above: No closed doors: A Muji Refrigerator and shelves with a microwave and toaster oven are incorporated into the dining area.

The back wall is larch plywood, which like the kitchen, has been finished with white Osmo.

the balcony overlooks the park—and provides the small structure with a s 21
Above: The balcony overlooks the park—and provides the small structure with a sense of expansiveness.
 the ceiling beams and wooden stair treads play off each other in a rhythm 22
Above: The ceiling beams and wooden stair treads play off each other in a rhythmic pattern. “The owners can see the underlying structure and can customize the house easily,” Hirano says.
the living area is oriented to the front, south facing balcony and brightened b 23
Above: The living area is oriented to the front, south-facing balcony and brightened by a skylight. That’s the bedroom overhead.

Most of the furnishings are secondhand-store finds from the owners’ four years spent living in Sweden.

The Sleep Loft

the bed is angled under the eaves next to a sloping side window. building codes 24
Above: The bed is angled under the eaves next to a sloping side window. Building codes in Japan allow for entirely open stairs, such as this simple steel railing.

The Bathroom

the house&#8\2\17;s lone bath is on the ground floor—&#8\2\2\1;i 25
Above: The house’s lone bath is on the ground floor—”it’s a small house, so not a long trip,” Hirano says. The room doubles as the laundry: That’s a combination washer and dryer from Muji finished with a larch plywood counter that matches the open shelf.

The walls are made of FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic), a waterproof, industrial composite, and the floor is concrete. The Wide Enamel Lab Sink is by Toto.

the rakish tub is a kaldewei tform bathtub, a model made to be inset but here u 26
Above: The rakish tub is a Kaldewei TForm Bathtub, a model made to be inset but here used with an exposed frame.

Note the multiarmed hanging towel rack: It’s a repurposed hook for horse harnesses that the architects painted white.

The Ground Floor Entry and Atelier

the product designer&#8\2\17;s workshop is right off the front door. b 27
Above: The product designer’s workshop is right off the front door. Bikes are hoisted to the storage loft by Rad Bike Lifts; $22.37 via Amazon.
no. 555&#8\2\17;s cross section of the design details the loft spaces over  28
Above: No. 555’s cross-section of the design details the loft spaces over each of the floors.
shoehorned into a group of narrow houses, the structure opens to parkland in th 29
Above: Shoehorned into a group of narrow houses, the structure opens to parkland in the back.

See more of No. 555’s work:

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Tiny House Tokyo project about?

The Tiny House Tokyo project is about the design and construction of a small, efficient living space in Tokyo, Japan by No. 555 architects.

Who are the architects behind the Tiny House Tokyo project?

The Tiny House Tokyo project was designed by a Japanese architecture firm named No. 555.

What is the size of the Tiny House Tokyo project?

The Tiny House Tokyo project is a 312-square-foot apartment, which includes a loft bedroom, a bathroom, and a kitchen with a dining area.

What are some features of the Tiny House Tokyo design?

Some of the features of the Tiny House Tokyo design include a loft bedroom, a built-in sofa, a dining table that can be attached to the kitchen counter, and a movable storage unit that doubles as a room divider.

What challenges did the architects face while designing the Tiny House Tokyo project?

The architects faced several challenges, including limited space, strict building codes, and a need to maximize storage and functionality while still creating a comfortable living space.

What materials were used in the construction of the Tiny House Tokyo project?

The Tiny House Tokyo project was constructed using a combination of wood, steel, and concrete.

Is the Tiny House Tokyo project open for tours or visits?

It is unclear whether the Tiny House Tokyo project is open for tours or visits. Interested parties should contact No. 555 architects for more information.

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