tato architects has designed an unorthodox living arrangement in japan

tato architects has designed an unorthodox living arrangement in japan

most of us live pretty much the same way, in a box-shaped building with a kitchen here and our bedroom there. but occasionally, an architect comes along and takes a sledge hammer to this notion, building from the rubble something completely revolutionary and perhaps beautiful. this japanese home is one of these projects. where most two story buildings have just two floors, architect yo shimada (of tato architects) fits about seven. because, why not? this space contains a number of different elevations that take you this way an that, challenging our notions of living.

yo shimada house
all images by shinkenchiku sha



the house was designed for a family of three with a lot of possessions. these clients gave tato architects a very specific request: to construct a home where ‘the members of the family can feel close to each other regardless of where they are in the house’ — and the architect obliged them. this is why there are no walls, and the only divisions of space are ceilings and floors. furthermore the architect stated that ‘private rooms were not needed because they feel that it is lonely to withdraw into one’s space, and storage space was also unnecessary because they did not want to tuck things away.’

yo shimada house
the first floor, an introduction to the eclectic collection of possessions



all the essential spaces are in the home but they’re not where you’d except. they’re hidden here and there but after time, their use becomes instinctive, evidence of our adaptive human nature. you can see the transformation, of the house from the project’s start to its in habitation. just like any space, the user makes it their own. it’s their map, things are where they are meant to be. for us it might seem a little messy, but for the owner it has a hidden order and perfection. you see, we need not live the same way as all our neighbors, we can craft a unique life for ourselves — all it takes is a little imagination.

yo shimada house
no storage space was designed in the house, so all items are left in the open

yo shimada house
the different levels naturally create privacy

yo shimada house
all the essential spaces are in the home but they’re not where you’d except

yo shimada house
the different levels prompt us to rethink how we use space

yo shimada house
so many possessions, so many possibilities

yo shimada house
the design lets its residents navigate how they want

yo shimada house
the dwelling offers views and a good place to read

yo shimada house
get on this level to rethink how we live

yo shimada house
images of the house before it is inhabited

yo shimada house
on the outside one wouldn’t guess the interior workings of the house 

floor plans

sectional perspective diagram



project info:


name: house in miyamoto
location: osaka, japan
firm: tato architects/yo shimada
team: yo shimada, nobuhiko sato, koji hoshiyasu
structure design: takashi manda structural design
team: takashi manda, taijiro kato
construction: seiyu construction company
main structure: steel frame
scale: two storey house
site area: 128.19 sqm
building area: 49.7 sqm
total floor area: 94.4 sqm

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