amidst a dense residential area in the center of higashi-osaka city, osaka, architecture firm, arbol, designed a compact single-family house. the client requested a take on ‘singapore’s peranakan architecture’ – a building style in asia characterized by the hybridization of western and eastern cultures and influences. however, the architects decided to keep a solid, monolithic facade, and bring a modernized version of peranakan architecture to the inside.




at the start of the design process, arbol took elements from singapore’s peranakan architecture but imbued it with japanese culture and flavor. peranakan architectural features a landscape as an arcade, by connecting adjacent buildings and porches into one common ground floor. with this reference, the architects designed the house with varying ceiling heights and multiple stories within the same roof, creating an engaging multi-dimensional environment. 




upon entering the block of the facade, the spaces in the house progress from more public spaces to the private. the areas are connected by arches that change in their size and rhythm, creating layered surfaces and shadows, which add depth to the overall flow of the house.  they create a sense of expanse with visual ingenuity by cutting off a part of some arches. this was inspired by the pilota of peranakan architecture, where you can feel the connection with the outside. 




as for the space composition with the outside, the front yard and the courtyard were covered completely and lie under the same roof as the rest of the house. as a result, the public exterior space and the private interior space are softly connected, and there is a feeling of openness through the verticality that captures the sky. the natural light perceived inside changes depending on the season and time, and create different moving shadows throughout the year. in addition, the outer walls that make up the facade and the courtyard also let the wind in through the gaps in the feet due to the cantilever. 




for the landscaping, arbol designed it with the image of southern plants such as dark green and large leaves in mind. it is in harmony with the concept of the building and is an accent of living where you can enjoy the colors and changes in each season. as for indoor air conditioning and thermal environment, the walls and ceiling are plastered with natural materials to enhance the refining effect and producing a tactile and aesthetic texture. 




for heat insulation, a spray-on material for wooden construction was used, and the sash was double-layered glass (partly using vacuum glass) to improve heat retention. in addition, there is a second type of ventilation through a filter that removes impurities from the outside air to create a clean air circulation to every corner of the house.




the plan was cut and rebuilt from an aged adjacent tenement house. the architects gave it a new life by interposing the arches that reinterpreted exotic architectural elements and the front and courtyards. it is a house where you can feel the daily changes such as light, wind and seasonal relaxation. arbol intended the client to live their daily life with a simple but exotic comfort in a subtle and pleasing environment. 

arbol layers series of arches inside minimalist residence in japan

arbol layers series of arches inside minimalist residence in japan

arbol layers series of arches inside minimalist residence in japan



project info:


design: arbol + pierre le fur 

site area: 70.80㎡ 

total floor area: 59.48 m2 

location: higashiosaka city, osaka prefecture, japan 

client: private – family of 3 

exterior wall finish: jolipat finish

interior floor: teak, acacia solid board, tile, mortar

wall and ceiling: plaster plaster finish 

construction period: april 2019-august 2019 

implementation design: arbol, yuko inoue + arhifto + miyamoto yoshikuni architects 

site supervision: arbol, yuko inoue 

construction: iwatatsuru corporation 

landscaping: green space co., ltd. 

lighting: daiko electric co., ltd. katsuhiko hanai 

photo: yasunori shimomura



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: cristina gomez | designboom