How do you design a house that provides high levels of privacy in a densely populated neighborhood like the one in Japan's Shiga prefecture? Local firm FORM, led by architect Kouichi Kimura, created a beautiful inward-facing house with a few strategically-placed windows that face the narrow street and neighboring buildings.
Kimura created a variety of spaces enveloped with minimalist facades that protect the family privacy. He integrated the furniture into the architecture, with small niches that function as benches. An open-plan living room dominates the ground floor, with three bedrooms and a hallway occupying the rest of the space. A staircase connects the entrance hall to the second floor of the house, which protrudes toward the front road.
While narrow windows provide an optimal level of privacy, a skylight located above the living room brings in additional light and compensates for the lack of facade openings. In order to create a dynamic space, the architect used varying ceiling heights throughout the home. The subtle detailing can be found in the design of the slender grey handrail of the main staircase, the finishing of the timber-clad wall that separates a hobby room from the living room and the small offsets withing the inner surfaces of partitions.
Images by Yoshihiro Asada