‘kh:3’ house by NRM architects office in osaka, japan all images courtesy NRM architects office photographer: kazushi hirano

japanese firm NRM architects office (shunichiro ninomiya and tomoko morodome) has designed a two story residential house in osaka, japan. located on a corner of a dense part of the downtown area, ‘kh:3’ employs a modern street facade in varying shades and materials of grey. typical of many minimalistic japanese dwellings, the facade offers no indication of the interior conditions.

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) street facade (right) house in context

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house street facade in the evening

‘kh: 3’ extensively utilizes both natural and artificial light to create, lengthen, illuminate, and separate the interior space. an interior courtyard, which is closed off from the street by a perforated metal sheet, is treated as the main source of sunlight: the house opens up to it by utilizing floor-to-ceiling windows. too much direct lighting and overheating is prevented by the height of the courtyard walls.

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house kitchen and living area

the open kitchen and living area features a thin continuous strip of window that runs up a wall and along the length of the room. not only does this naturally illuminate the space, it also acts as a subtle dividing element to the kitchen program. a corresponding strip of artificial light runs along the floor on the opposite side of the room, which visually connects the space together. a glass wall on one end, which encases the stairway to the second level, continues the light in its reflection, resulting in a room that feels larger and elongated.

careful placement of deep, set-in roof lights create dimension and depth to the design. 

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) natural lighting (right) artificial lighting

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) interior courtyard during the day (right) interior courtyard during the evening

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) during day time (right) during the evening

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) exterior courtyard staircase (right) second level railings

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) looking out in to the courtyard (right) detail of the metal cladding in the courtyard

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left) a continuous strip of light bordering the kitchen (right) natural light in the living area

NRM architects office: 'kh:3' house (left and right) punched-out roof lights in the washroom