Minamisenzoku House is an unassuming structure on a bustling neighbourhood street in Tokyo. Designed by Kobayashi 401, this dwelling projects a no-fuss composition that is not unfamiliar in modern Japanese architecture. It features many elements that have come to be residential standards in Japan’s large cities: a small ground-floor footprint, uncomplicated materials, and a largely opaque façade to maximise privacy.
The structure has a spilt-level floor plan, allowing the design to increase square footage while creating several unique and comfortable spaces on the interior. This scheme dictates many stories separated by a partial set of stairs. The stairs were kept unobtrusive by using a floating style made of white metal. I love the “nooks and crannies” feel this layout constitutes. It allows the home to feel both cozy and refreshingly airy.
A mix of polished concrete, plywood, and white sheetrock gives depth to the simple geometries of the interior. The tin roof adds a slightly industrial aesthetic that also makes the home feel a bit like an older, historic building. Narrow windows illuminate the interior yet shield the inside from neighbours’ prying eyes. The furnishings and décor are what you’d expect: minimal, monochrome, and carefully placed. Overall, Minamisenzoku House is a thoughtful and peaceful residence for city living.