House in Setagawa by SKAL and OUVI

House in Setagawa by SKAL and OUVI

House in Setagawa occupies a compact east-facing lot in a densely-built suburb of Tokyo. With little room in which to build on a tight lot, the most common solution is to make the house as wide as possible and leave a small backyard. But with most windows at the front and back, that can leave the middle of the house dark. Architects Kazuya Shikinami of SKAL and Shin Yokoo of OUVI took a different approach, designing a long and narrow house that stretches to the rear property line but leaves room for a narrow side yard on the south side. The main windows face the side yard, allowing ample daylight to reach every major room.

House in Setagawa by SKAL and OUVI

The architects set the wall facing the side yard at a slight angle, creating a tapered floor plan that provides a sufficient setback from the house next door for sunlight to reach the ground floor windows. The yard is planted with dense clusters of plants that, when fully grown, should obscure the neighboring house from view. The layers of vegetation also give the illusion that the yard is larger than it really is. Clear areas were left in front of the windows to let sunlight enter the home and to create small outdoor seating areas.

House in Setagawa by SKAL and OUVI

The house has 91.3 m2 (983 ft2) of floor space with two stories plus a loft level. The entrance at the front of the house leads past a powder room and a walk-in storage closet to the open living space. The kitchen and dining area are in the middle of the floor plan, with the large kitchen island also serving as the dining table. Both the dining area and the living are beyond have sliding patio doors facing the yard. The stairs and kitchen are placed along the opposite wall. Built-in storage cabinets under the stairs blend into the kitchen cabinetry for a uniform appearance that unites the spaces.

House in Setagawa by SKAL and OUVI


The two bedrooms and a full bathroom are upstairs. A large room for the children to share is at one end while the parent’s bedroom is at the other. The architects reduced the amount of dedicated circulation space by having the bathroom area and closet in between double as the corridor to the master bedroom. That doesn’t involve much loss of privacy as the toilet and bathtub are in their own separate compartments. The bathroom also houses the laundry machines. A ladder in the children’s room provides access to two loft spaces that could be used as guest accommodation, reading nook, meditation space or just for storage.

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Photographs by Syuya Amemiya, courtesy of SKAL. Via DesignBoom.

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