A New Spacious Japanese Family Home by Kenji Ido Architectural Studio, Tamatsu

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This modern house by Japanese architect Kenji Ido is designed for a family of four, two adults and two children. Its location in the Tamatsu urban district, on a small plot in Osaka, Japan, is a mixed-use area where small houses, small factories, and small office buildings coexist together. But the family’s former house at this site was a wooden two-story, with adjacent buildings so close that natural light couldn’t get in. Their request? That the family’s space (living area, dining area, and kitchen) be as large as possible without pillars or load-bearing walls, allowing as much natural light into the house as possible. This was a challenge, with the building site being so narrow that living quarters took it up in its entirety.

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Ido started with consideration of the family’s lifestyle: they wanted the bathroom and bedroom on the ground floor. The family’s living and dining rooms went on the next level, the children’s rooms upstairs of that, and finally, the rooftop became the terrace. For structural reasons, the second floor was rotated 14 degrees from the axis of the building; space between the floors then allowed for a skylight to let in natural light from above. Box-shaped cantilevered stairs float in another of the voids formed by this rotation; the home is ready for the family to use with light, air, and a feeling of more space than they’ve ever had before. And the building’s box shape, although dramatically different from their previous home — and different from any other building around it — nevertheless fits into the area just fine.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).