A Family Home that Wraps Living Spaces Around A Central Void

The living areas of this small family home in Ikoma are all oriented around a double height void containing the staircase. The house has been designed by Osaka-based architecture studio, Arbol, who were asked by the clients to create a home with a connected interior through which the family could interact.


House in Ikoma - Arbol Design Studio - Japan - Exterior - Humble Homes

The house is set in a residential district in the Japanese city of Ikoma. The house is accessed from the street-facing elevation, which features very few windows in order to maintain privacy. Upon entering the home you’re greeted by the 22 foot (6.7 meters) high void.


House in Ikoma - Arbol Design Studio - Japan - Living Area - Humble Homes

The void allows light to travel between the different rooms and spaces of the house. It also provides a physical and visual link, and promotes air circulation. From Arbol: “The aim of this design is for wind, natural sunlight and air to run through the whole area freely and effectively in this compact house.”


House in Ikoma - Arbol Design Studio - Japan - Staircase - Humble Homes

The first floor is home to a number of spaces including an open plan living room, dining area and kitchen. This room wraps around the central void with a series of windows allowing light to filter between the two areas. Another room can be found behind the staircase, with a bathroom and storage flanking the entryway.

House in Ikoma - Arbol Design Studio - Japan - Loft - Humble Homes

The second floor is a mishmash of lots of smaller rooms. It’s mainly composed of bedrooms, a bathroom, washroom and separate toilet, a utility room, and storage. Like the floor below, the main living spaces (in this case the bedrooms) wrap around the central void.

House in Ikoma - Arbol Design Studio - Japan - Floor Plans - Humble Homes

The timber structure is exposed throughout and creates a sense of rhythm, while also helping to define rooms and providing some warmth to an otherwise blank canvas of white walls.

For more small Japanese houses check out this simple and functional island home. Or, Kamo House, another family home based in Gifu by A-un Architects. See all Japanese houses.

Via Dezeen
Photos: Yasunori Shimomura

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

1 Comment
  1. I like but have a question. Is there 2 staircases in the pictures of the 2 staircases or is the 2nd staircase a mirrored image? 2nd Can the floor plan on the 2nd floor be end to end with the bathroom and storage area or one side and a open bedroom or 2 bedrooms instead of being clutters with several rooms that seem small. 3rd. Is the car parked on the street or is there a small beside the building that either a garage or a carport be built. I live in Idaho and where I was living previously a dirt road near where I lived and got so much dirt on the windshield of the vehicle. It was great the next place I moved to had a carport.