‘GAPs’ by NRM architects office in aichi, japan all images courtesy of NRM architects office photographer: kenichi suzuki

‘GAPs’ by japanese firm NRM architects office (shunichiro ninomiya and tomoko morodome) is a three-storey residential house for two families in aichi, japan. the aim of the design was to meet the different needs and requirements of the two different generations: the elder couple sought a traditional space with ample storage while the younger couple desired a more modern dwelling.

NRM architects office: GAPs facade

typical to minimalist design in japan, the house offers no windows or openings on the street side but instead features a section of translucent panels on the ground level. depending on the time of day, the colour of the light that glows through the panels gives the facade a different character.

NRM architects office: GAPs street view

NRM architects office: GAPs the house in the evening

though the structure houses both families in a seemingly singular mass, the two spaces are independent of one another with separate entrances and no connection in between save for the void of the courtyard. the first level, which was designed for the elderly couple, offers a bed room, separate kitchen and living/dining space, and a washitsu (japanese-style room) with tatami flooring next to the courtyard.

NRM architects office: GAPs from the courtyard looking into the washitsu

NRM architects office: GAPs looking up from the courtyard

NRM architects office: GAPs second level living space

the second level features floor-to-ceiling glazing on the back side, transferring natural light throughout the entire length of the house. the void of the courtyard is also flanked by glass to elongate the interior space as well as to illuminate the living space. the third level, which accommodates two small bedrooms and a terrace, looks over the living area via a small atrium.

NRM architects office: GAPs second level dining and living area under an atrium

NRM architects office: GAPs stairs to the third level

the design incorporates careful placement and treatment of artificial light to not only brighten the space but to connect and lengthen the interior. strips of light run along the wall and ledge of the overlook, washing the white walls with luminance.

NRM architects office: GAPs the ledge of the overlook is lined with strips of light

NRM architects office: GAPs looking down from the third level

NRM architects office: GAPs the lighting washes up the walls

NRM architects office: GAPs space is extended with the use of reflection and light to the second-level bedroom across the void of the courtyard

NRM architects office: GAPs entrance area clad in translucent panels

NRM architects office: GAPs floor plans

project info:

architects: shunichiro ninomiya, tomoko morodome structure: wood structure storeys: 3 site area: 190.03 m2 building area: 89.43 m2 total floor area: 205.56 m2