Small Japanese House Really Is All About Eaves

©. Tetsura Yashiro via Designboom

Deep overhang controls light, provides privacy for bedrooms upstairs.

We have been debating whether houses should have roof overhangs; I have noted before that they serve a useful function of keeping water off the walls and snow from piling up against the house in winter. Green Building Advisor expert Martin Holladay agrees:

This house shown in Designboom by Yabashi Architect & Associates in Bungotakada, Japan wouldn't be all that noticeable if not for its remarkable eaves. The overhang is much larger on one side than the other, sheltering the entrance and providing privacy for the sleeping areas on the upper level.

house with eaves side view

© Tetsura Yashiro via Designboom

Accessed beneath one of the building’s eaves, YAA’s design positions the primary living space at ground level, with a lounge, kitchen, and dining areas. stairs at the center of the home lead to the mezzanine level, which includes a balcony, closet, and tatami space. The uppermost storey contains the home’s sleeping quarters, with two bedrooms situated beneath the steeply pitched roof. The structure’s timber interior is left exposed throughout, with carefully positioned windows ensuring natural daylight and selected views.

bedroom floor of house with eaves

© Tetsura Yashiro via Designboom

It has no separate rooms or interior divisions to speak of, "in order to ensure a sense of openness." No word on how big the family is, but the entire house is only 882 square feet, without walls. It is a different culture in Japan.

Seriously, we do love eaves, but perhaps this is too much of a good thing. Lots more images on Designboom.

section through house with eaves