A black wooden cube dares to stand out in a quaint street of Toyota, Japan. It is a relatively slim volume, especially when compared with its neighbouring surroundings. It is also almost entirely windowless—a recurring trend in minimalist architecture—ensuring utmost privacy as well as a striking sculptural form as its first welcoming greet. What could have been a purely austere outer shell avoids the usual trappings through beautiful black timber, infusing warmth through texture.
T House was designed by Katsutoshi Sasaki and Associates, a daring project to tackle as the residence bestows a strong personality through its unusual proportions. To focus on the essential is a necessity and not discretionary. The height and width arguably limit the possibilities for daily dynamics, thus bringing forth a different aesthetic in all areas.
The narrative of T House is quite unique, as each level is slowly unveiled through shifts and a spiral-like cadence to reach its top floor. The eight-metre walkway offers different purposes for each level, from the office, the art gallery, and kitchen, to the resting area at the top. For each space a different dynamic is necessary, thus boiling down to its essential. Almost like a pictogram, the most basic elements are put forth. To guarantee cohesion, one material was elected as the main structure: raw timber. It is visually lightweight, alongside hand-picked potted plants.
The end result leads to what the architects call “embracing comfort” as absolute privacy comes through as a gift to its inhabitants, as well as a calm-inducing ambient from the garden to the top floor. Its narrow nature leads its inhabitants to engage with a simple lifestyle, an exercise in true Japanese minimalism.