Japanese architecture is chock-full of playful, space-saving designs, and architect Takeshi Hosaka's House in Byoubuguara is no exception. Located on a tight 645-square-foot site in Yokohama, this concrete home uses curved floors to work around limiting height and footprint restrictions and to allow natural light to pierce through the building. The seemingly austere concrete exterior belies the playful interior lined with timber, a spiral staircase, and organic shapes such as circular openings in the ceilings and U-shaped floors.
Hosaka’s creative design solution isn’t just for looks–an innovative approach was necessary to mitigate the challenging and cramped site conditions. Sandwiched between existing buildings on the south and north, as well as a nearly ten-foot-tall retaining wall on the east side, the site was left with limited access to views and natural light. In response, Hosaka created a basement level to expand the building footprint by a third and introduced curved floors so that natural light and crosswinds could enter the space. Three large, rectangular glazed openings are located on the east and west facades.
Each floor features an open-plan layout to create the illusion of spaciousness. Polished timber covers the floorboards and is used for the furnishings to add a sense of warmth and contrast to the in situ concrete frame. The metal spiral staircase that connects the basement level with the upper two floors winds up through deformed circular openings in the thick concrete ceilings.
Images via Takeshi Hosaka