bonbonma architecture introduces the ‘suzu’ project, consisting of the renovation of two adjacent houses that have been co-inhabiting within the same plot in kyoto, japan, for more than seven decades. the transformation turns the two pre-existing structures into three, to house both private (residential) uses and semi-public (gallery/office) ones, sharing a verdant enclosed courtyard garden in ‘tsubo niwa’ style.

suzu 5
all images courtesy of sudo kazuya



the pre-existing dwellings may have shared the same land for years, but their styles have always been different. with the intent to preserve the original 1920 architecture as much as possible, bonbonma architecture has used traditional materials and building techniques to form the three new structures. the newly developed program is designed to be flexible, accommodating living environments and along with an office/gallery space, next to an intermediate garden protecting the occupants from the adjacent road. 

suzu 1



the project was conceived using two main methods: ‘tone architecture’ and ‘building biology’. tone architecture is a design method devised by bonbonma, where architecture and space are born from sound. in case of remodeling, the sounds are ‘extracted’ from the original architecture.

suzu 2



according to the architects, each space vibrates at a frequency equivalent to one or a couple of musical notes. each note in each space and as a whole give birth to the new architecture. the new spaces evoke new notes and in the end, the project becomes a latent musical composition. both the preservation of traditional construction techniques and the application of building biology, gave rise to using only natural materials, excluding or avoiding any type of plastic and derivative materials, with special attention given to minimizing waste.

suzu 3

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project info:


name: suzu
head architect: bonbonma architecture
consulting architect: at space architects
constructor: ueno komuten
construction management: cecilia ramirez corzo and minami maiko
head carpenter: hanato isamu
building biology consultant: bonbonma architecture
location: kyoto city, japan



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: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom