The project is an extension of a small home that was getting very cramped housing three generations of a family. The tiny lot, lack of privacy, and narrow streets catalyzed a fresh design approach that looked inward to create social space. The simple white rectangle standing two stories tall is dotted in 200 millimeter square perforations both inside and out to create connectivity.
The windows provide the minimalist home with daylight and visual interest while maintaining privacy and allowing the children to peek out into the world. Many of the windows open to scoop up fresh air and improve connectivity to the outside. The fenestration is carried up to the roof, which is studded with square skylights and features a deck that is accessible via ladder. The blocks of light coming from above turn the upper room into an abstract space, inserting the family into a pixellated environment.
The genius of the design is best expressed in the layout of square openings throughout the floors of the house. These openings are a logical extension of the windows to the interior aesthetically, but they also serve the vital function of enhancing communication. The children can call each other throughout the home, and their deaf parents can communicate via sign language between the floors. By connecting the small home for spontaneous communication, the design strengthens the family’s relationship in what would otherwise be a typical small living space.
Potted plants, poking through some of the squares in the floor, add even more flavor to the space while softening it a bit. The exceptional home takes a simple design element and utilizes it for multiple functions to create a highly livable and playful environment.
Photos © KOJI FUJII / Nacasa & Partners Inc.