House of Density

Sapporo, Japan
Jun Igarashi
Sergio Pironne

Micro-homes (Kyosho jutaku) have seen a monumental rise in Japan since the early 2010s due to the increasingly harsh market for real estate. Until today, their spontaneous appearance in unimaginable places has altered the urban fabric of metropolises across the country. This has created a network of peculiar architecture, but functional and aesthetically pleasing nonetheless. Like many other micro-homes, House of Density by Jun Igarashi is a structure that contributes to this system of what can be called fills in the voids.

House of Density snuggles fittingly between two larger structures. This cluster of forms consists of many intersecting volumes, all with rounded corners and skin of white corrugated metal. The vertical patterns of the material elongate the house, visually representing the limited floor area for built space. Meanwhile, the softened turns of said volumes give a contemporary feel in the surroundings of geometric residential apartments. As the house rises and falls to a rhythmic pattern, this creates moments where the interior meets the exterior within a private common space.

The minimalist sensibility is carried from outside to inside. Its dominating palette of pure white delivers a visual expansion, opening up the interior with complimenting natural light from geometric cutouts scattered throughout. The only accent of colours is the beige wooden ceiling, acting both as a support and a homage to the traditional homes with horizontal beams running repeatedly. This pattern also extends one’s perception, connecting one space to another.

A spiral staircase at the back links all the floors together. Due to the varied ceiling heights at different points of occupation in House of Density, one’s viewpoint can access different rooms below for a dynamic spatial exchange. Although it might pose a complex flow of circulation, it also allows for an ever-changing game of exploration. Whimsical moments such as a low-ceiling room, which can only be accessed by a child, makes for a playful challenge that the architects propose to the inhabitants.

House of Density is among the spectacular projects that help fill in the urban voids. Not only do they serve as a home for adaptable dwellers, but they also act as a form of ornamentation to the existing urban fabric. Their presence reconnects the physical gaps and further pushes for experimental takes on the regular perspective of living space. And I believe these experiments can only occur through the process of refining and carefully selecting essential qualities for a place called home.

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