This tiny home in the big city is designed around a compact footprint

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Between the regulatory gray area of ​​tiny houses and problematic monster mansions are the often overlooked virtues of the tiny house – dwellings that fall in the rough range of 400 to 1,500 square feet. There are some who want to downsize a large house, but might be leery of squeezing into a small house.

On the flip side, these are exactly the guys who might be more likely to consider a tiny house instead. Ultimately it depends on individual needs, budget and taste, but it is clear that small homes are less carbon-intensive to build and maintain, and this also applies to older smaller homes that are being turned over to. nine.

But for city dwellers in big cities like Tokyo, Japan, tiny houses on small plots of land are the norm to begin with, not the exception. By creating a new home for a couple in their forties, based in Tokyo Unemori Architects managed to make the most of the tiny 280 square foot lot by building vertically and strategically rearranging the spatial volumes of the house to bring in more sunlight and ventilation.

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As the founder and principal architect of the company Hiroyuki Unemori explains on Remain:

“In Tokyo, small plots of land are the norm. Houses in the city must be compact and intelligently structured. With Tokyo House, we responded to the challenge by designing the house as stacked and interconnected cubes with a very open floor plan. ”

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By stacking and manipulating the volumes, which are wrapped in corrugated galvanized steel, the house feels less surrounded by neighboring buildings. In addition, the new multipurpose outdoor terrace that was created above one of the volumes makes up for the lack of a backyard in this small house located in a densely populated urban neighborhood. Guests’ busy urban lifestyle means they’re also often out of the house, making the most of what this cosmopolitan city has to offer.

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Inside the house’s duplex design, traces of these volumetric maneuvers have been left visible through the exposed timber framing, while the height differences between the various interconnected floor levels provide interesting views of a zone to another, explains Unemori:

“While each floor is assigned a function, the spaces are connected by open floor plans and staggered levels, which expand the space and counteract the smallness of the home.”

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More importantly, the differential stacking produces spaces that allow for the diverse placement of windows, which is beneficial in many ways, Unemori explains:

“The small space between the neighboring houses brings a view of the sky, the circulation of the wind and of course the sunlight.”

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A large kitchen and dining area takes up the main level, and it also appears to be a built-in lounging area here too, with a sofa hanging from the platform above, facing a screen. television mounted on the back wall. Plenty of storage can be found here in the long row of wardrobes, some of which extend over the entrance hall, thus bridging the two spaces.

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Thanks to the interplay of volumes here, the ceiling height here extends very high, creating a greater sense of space. In addition, heating and cooling are made more efficient by installing a ventilation duct that directs warm air from the upper zone to the living areas during the winter. Conversely, during the summer, you can flip a switch to bring hot air outside, so that the air conditioner works more efficiently.

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Below the main level is the bedroom, which is nestled in the semi-basement. Here it’s darker and quieter, perfect for a bedroom. As it is fitted with two sliding door entrances, the space here can also potentially be split into two separate rooms, to accommodate guests’ wishes that they can one day move out and rent their home to tenants instead.

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In either of the two hallways leading to the two bedroom doors we have a small bathroom and toilet, and a separate shower room, in addition to various storage spaces and a washing machine. wash hidden under the curved metal staircase.

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With so little land to work on, the architects’ intriguing design strategy has allowed them to create a series of unique spaces and interior views that are ultimately connected enough to create a unified whole that feels large despite its small size. Ultimately, it will be creative strategies like this that help make the typology of tiny homes more appealing and liveable to a wider audience.

To see more, visit Unemori Architects.


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