Clever minimalist partition expands 689 sq. ft. Tokyo apartment

Sinato
© Sinato

For those of us who feel tiny homes are just plain too cramped, small apartments may be the next best thing to reduce one's footprint, especially if it's located close to amenities and transportation. To maximize the space in smaller apartments, there are a few strategies: using "transformer" furniture or build-ins, smaller habitable volumes, or in the case of this 689-square-foot apartment in Yokohama, Tokyo architecture firm Sinato uses a clever L-shaped partition to create several distinct spaces.

Sinato© Sinato

This update of an apartment in an old apartment block aimed to make the most of a small space. Using this plywood-based partition, which was envisioned as a "large furniture" wrapped around existing load-bearing walls, the architects were able to carve a relatively small space into two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, lounge, bathroom (with bathtub, toilet and Japanese-style washing area) and plenty of storage.

Sinato© Sinato
Sinato© Sinato
Sinato© Sinato
Sinato© Sinato

The form of the partition also preserves a clear view from one end of the apartment to the other, giving a perception of largeness, while increasing natural cross-ventilation and daylighting. The architects say on Dornob:

Rather than create a unit completely through the articulation of living functions, in order to allow the occupants to live with greater freedom within a very limited floor area, we thought it was much more effective to connect and overlay the various places, creating the whole of the dwelling.

Sinato© Sinato

To expand the sense of space, light-coloured paints are used on the walls and floors.

Sinato© Sinato

We love too how seating is incorporated into the partition, which also doubles as extra storage; the shelves above are minimal but still have a quintessential character, and echoing the wall itself, wrap themselves around the form. This formal flow goes down to the details -- even the flooring's orientation conforms to the partition's path.

Sinato© Sinato

It's a deceptively simple design, with the spaces seeming to flow into one another, yet they remain defined enough to serve as recognizable domestic places to occupy and enjoy, thanks to the main feature occupying the central space. It's yet another successful example of how clever placement of one spatial intervention can augment what would otherwise feel like a small space and give it more functionality. More over at Sinato.

Tags: Apartments | Japan | Less Is More | Small Spaces

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