Very Small Homes

Building in small, awkward sites has become a specialty in Japan. Today, many Western architects and designers are lining up to examine the techniques used to build in these minimal spaces. Author Azby Brown has taken note of this trend with enthusiasm, and has penned a book called "The Very Small Home", published by Kodansha. Living space in the West is becoming crowded in urban areas and even in the suburbs -- these are conditions that the Japanese have coped with, and their architects have gained much experience dealing with, for quite some time. Brown, who has lived in Japan for twenty years, says: "It's almost as if a house in Japan has to be small in order to be considered well designed... Urban living space in the West is rapidly approaching the kind of conditions that the Japanese have been experiencing for years."

Homeowners have learnt to maximize space in bedrooms by utilizing futons, tucking them away in the daytime. Others have discovered the joys of the sliding doors, which, Mr Brown points out, was imported from Japan 100 years ago.

The Very Small Home illustrates this claim succinctly with its 18 projects running the gamut from traditional and handmade to the futuristic.

Publisher: Kondasha International

[By Justin Thomas]