Japan is somewhat known as a land of crazy inventions, themed cafés and weird houses that range from skinny to low-tech eco-friendly projects. We've explained previously how the particular quirks of the Japanese real estate market have allowed designers to experiment like no where else. Another case in point is this small, triangular-shaped riverside house by Mizuishi Architects Atelier that makes the most out of an awkward plot of land, to create a place where a family of three can call home.
Located in Horinouchi, a town in Niigata prefecture, the 594-square-foot house has a distinctive, jutting volume housing a spare room on the upper floor that maximizes the available footprint and simultaneously provides shelter for a car's parking space. Context and planning regulations are largely what informed the design, says the architect Kota Mizuishi:
Although it was a novel site of a limited area, since a river was faced through a bank and a promenade, I would like to design various relations with the river.
The building is the form that cut an acute angle part on a triangle plan derived from the site. Furthermore, it got the maximum volume of hip roof of three planes in restriction of setback-line.
Living room, kitchen and dining are situated on the second floor, where windows on both sides maximize natural daylighting and give what the architect calls "a feeling of floating."
Above the living space, there is a mezzanine level, accessible by ladder, which acts as the family playroom. It overlooks the kitchen and narrow, triangular spare room on both sides. The mezzanine has two skylights through which the family can stargaze.
On the lowermost floor, there is a bathroom and a bedroom space that is divided off with a curtain, rather than walls, to increase the sense of openness (though one wonders though how quiet it is with traffic driving by outside).
It's lamentable that here in North America, big box homes are still the trend, despite the recent housing market crash and increasing maintenance costs. Smaller, more efficient homes have yet to become mainstream here, but this small, thoughtfully designed riverside house is yet another example of how tiny, awkward spaces can still be maximized, if government policies, cultural mores and demand can come together in the right mix. More over at Mizuishi Architects Atelier.