Matsubara House by Hiroyuki Ito
This small house in a residential neighborhood of Tokyo has an unusual angled facade that gives the house a different appearance when approached from either side. Architect Hiroyuki Ito of O.F.D.A. Associates designed the floor plan as a rough hexagon. By doing this, the main windows at the front and back are angled to the sides rather than directly facing the houses opposite, improving the views from inside and allowing more light to enter. The angled front facade also let the architect push the house closer to the street while still integrating with the larger frontyard setbacks of the neighboring houses.
The house has two bedrooms in a 104.6 m2 (1,126 ft2) split-level floor plan. The ground floor contains the master bedroom and a large bathroom. A minimalist staircase of floating treads cantilevered from the wall leads up to the main living area, a split-level space with the living room a few steps up from the eat-in kitchen. There is also a small powder room tucked under the stairs. At the top of the house, where the usable floor area is reduced by the angle of the roof, are a good-sized study/home office and a loft-like guest bedroom open to the living room below. The strategy of angling the windows for more light seems to have paid off as the home is filled with an abundance of natural light.
One interesting aspect of this small house is the care taken by the architect to ensure that surfaces intersect or align perfectly, as seen in the two photos above. The kitchen counter is at precisely the same height as the raised floor of the living room, and the line connecting them defines the top of the stairwell window. Likewise, the built-in desk and shelves of the study align with the steps and the guest bedroom floor. Also, the two wooden bookshelves are tied together by the matching wood paneling on the sloped ceiling. On the ground floor, the bedroom closets are the perfect height to pass uninterrupted through the bedroom door and into the entry hall with no room to spare. These visual tricks help to unify the separate rooms, as well as to make the house feel larger by drawing the eye from one space to the next.
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