yuusuke karasawa completes the layered S-house in saitama, japan yuusuke karasawa completes the layered S-house in saitama, japan
oct 13, 2014

yuusuke karasawa completes the layered S-house in saitama, japan

yuusuke karasawa completes the layered S-house in saitama, japan
image © koichi torimura




located near the omiya station in saitama, the ‘S-house’ by japanese practice yuusuke karasawa architects represents the simultaneous diversity and order that is ever present in our cyber lives. a central datum of vertical circulation splits opposing 50 m2 platforms that intertwine in the center. what seems like a simple stacking of planes reveals itself to be a rather complex network of diagonal surfaces terminating into one another resulting in an intricate path of circulation from the basement level to the rooftop deck. offset voids in the floor plates bring yet another layer of complexity to the home allowing access to additional functions.

image © koichi torimura




each floor above ground is clad in glass panes to strengthen the structural concept of the home and allows for plenty of natural light and views. private functions are thus located below grade in fully enclosed volumes that serve as the ground-level floor at the entrance.

side view
image © koichi torimura


center datum marked by the intersection of diagonal planes and stairs
image © koichi torimura


interior space
image © koichi torimura


offset platforms create a dynamic relationship between levels and half-levels
image © koichi torimura


vertical circulation
image © koichi torimura


an intricate path of stairs lead from floor to floor
image © koichi torimura


kitchen space
image © koichi torimura


image © koichi torimura


rooftop deck
image © koichi torimura


image © koichi torimura


image © koichi torimura


image © koichi torimura


image © koichi torimura


the ‘S-house’ by night
image © koichi torimura


front view of the house by night
image © koichi torimura






project info:



location: oomiya,saitama,japan
stories: 2 floors
architects: yuusuke karasawa architects—-yuusuke karasawa,principal-in-charge
consultants: structured environment—alan burden,hiroaki inukai,structural
general contractor: o’hara architectural and construction,ltd—akira ohara,satoshi kikuch
structural system: steel frame
materials used: steel plate, fluoropolymer painted,ceramic tiles,exterior;plaster board,emulsion painted,oak flooring,hemp carpet,interior
site area: 89.46m2
built area: 51.88m2
total floor area: 103.76m2
coverage ratio: 57.99%
gross floor ratio: 115.98%
design: 2010-2011
construction: 2012-2013
photographer: koichi torimura

  • This is a showroom, not a house. We can’t live in a concept

    Moob says:
  • Honey, did you see my white sheet of paper…. I put it down and now I can’t find it…..

    alberto says:
  • Make certain that you have something on beneath your robe before you bend over to pick up the lost piece of paper. Nice exercise in design but besides letting everyone look in it allows everyone to look out and what do they look at?
    Who would want to be dropped into that landscape.
    This could be interesting out in the country but it lacks, from what I can see, a physical connection to the out of doors. This is an interesting exercise but not livable.

    Ron Smith says:
  • This is obviously just a concept home, because there are no furnishings, and nobody lives in it. I don’t see any privacy for a bedroom, that is a huge drawback. Unless you lived on a deserted island, or just miles away from civilization, you would be inundated by sound and noise from people and machines around you. Glass “walls” are not enough sound proofing to block out civilization. It’s great to look at, very cool looking, interesting concept, but definitely not practical as a functional home.

    Jayme says:
  • I’ve finally realized that some of these projects are like concept cars and Paris fashions: no one is meant to live there. It’s about promotion, fame and influence.

    DetailBear says:
  • I can imagine this house in a rural/coastal/tropical setting with plenty of trees around …the neighbours miles away!

    tony says:
  • It’s “The Emperor’s New House”.

    Or an M.C. Escher painting

    John C. says:
  • Movies use diagonal lines to emphasize stress in tense moments. This concept is full of diagonal aspects, creating for me a feeling of anxiety.

    Laurence Budd says:
  • Very interesting piece of design and construction… perhaps not good to live in though

    DR says:
  • This must be the 1,000th time a similar comment chain to this one has followed the posting of an avant-garde Japanese house. There are clients for projects like these, people do want to live in them. My friend lives in a house like this in Tokyo and, even though the above pictures were taken before furnishing, his place is nearly this spare; he has one chair. I would gladly live in a place like this if I had the money.

    To clarify, I don’t wholly support this design but my problem with it has nothing to do with its “function,” narrowly defined anyway. The fact that there are different types of people with different tastes, some of whom are willing to live in houses like this, is something we should celebrate even if one does not personally wish to join.

    In conclusion, the first comment is the funniest. “We can’t live in a concept.” The very fact that this house exists would disprove your point if it wasn’t self evidently false. As if “normal” homes don’t involve all kinds of assumptions, tastes, and deeply held societal beliefs. There were monks in the fifth century known as “stylites” who lived on top of small columns for years. There are people now living in nudist colonies. There are people living in outer space as we speak. There are people who spend every night on the street.

    It seems many people who make comments like some of those above, and some of those below similar postings, desire to standardize the world’s living situations. To the contrary, I submit that the world of architecture is not nearly experimental enough. Concepts of living exist which are so radical that they would make the above house and the typical suburban American home appear identical. It is those ideas which deserve such scrutiny, not such a mild architectural variation. It is also those ideas which I wish to be realized.

    DOK says:
  • I saw photos of this house after they had moved in some of the things needed to actually live in it, and the structure looked very different, not so nice. I also dislike the fact that the house has nothing to do with energy efficiency, something that I believe all buildings should be concerned with today.

    michael jantzen says:
  • DR–Very well said indeed. While reading the article and perusing the photos I was imagining how and where some of my things would fit: books, movies, art. I found plenty of space. I am pretty much ready to move in when my 20 foot container gets to Japan!

    Daniel Morris says:
  • Yes, I would take it from this particular setting and it does bring back memories of ‘Labyrinth’ movie … so how do I get to the kitchen from the 2nd half floor – jump through the gap in the wall. However on a recent visit to Japan I am all inspired by the use of small spaces and what’s actually required for living. Its interesting.

    Laurene says:

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