a+u Architecture and Urbanism Magazine

Sou Fujimoto Extraordinary Japanese Houses

House NA by Sou Fujimoto (2010)

Sou Fujimoto designed this multi-level home to recreate the experience of clambering up the branches of a tree. The steel and glass lattice encapsulates twenty-one small spaces at varying levels.

Curtain Wall House by Shigeru Ban (1995)

Shigeru Ban has devoted his career to questioning the limits of architectural materials, as well as the conventional confines of the home. Perhaps his most iconic house, the Curtain Wall House built to recreate the openness of traditional Japanese homes within a modern urban context. The dramatic double-height curtain can conceal the interior when the sliding doors slid open to expose the home to the street.

Truss Wall House by Ushida Findlay (1993)

This home was built well before blobs were all the rage. The client owned Truss Wall, a construction system for building compound curves in concrete. The architects not only rose to the challenge of using this system to build his house, but took the system to heights even the owner couldn’t have imagined.

Cell Brick by Atelier Tekuto (2004)

The steel structural modules that comprise the walls of this small house not only create a checkered glazing pattern, they also serve as shelving inside the home too.

House in Kohoku by Torafu (2008)

Light is collected from skylights at the top of the four tubular protrusions that form the roof of this small concrete home. The roof’s unique geometry creates divisions within the home, separating the various living spaces.

Shell by ARTechnic (2009)

Built in the popular weekend getaway of Karuizawa, Shell House is a tubular holiday villa built to gracefully endure the natural environment encroaching all around it. A courtyard with a fir tree at its center is carved from the middle of the home.

Ring House by TNA (2007)

Deep in a forest in Nagano, this small tower blends by architects TNA into its leafy surroundings by alternating transparency with woody bands. Originally built for a developer, the buyer liked photos of the home so much, they purchased it without ever stepping foot inside.

House O by Hideyuki Nakamura

Facing the road, the tall double-height window at the end of this narrow home is artfully draped by a curtain. The central space is little wider than a hallway with wings that project from either side.

Reflection of Mineral by Atelier Tekuto (2006)

Straddling a corner of a dense Tokyo neighborhood, Yasuhiro Yamashita solved multiple challenges by shaping the home with large jewel-like facets. A compact parking space is carved out below, while glazed planes bring in light and views of the surrounding street.

House of Laminated Layers by Hiroaki Ohtani (2003)

The walls of this home appear to be made of concrete strips. The horizontal gaps form thin window slits and also support wooden shelves, furniture, and even the stairs.