A Contemporary, Multifunctional Japanese House by SNARK

Designed by the Japanese architecture firm, SNARK, this building serves as a residential and commercial property. Set about an hour’s drive from Takasaki city, it features a hairdressers on the first floor, and a small house on the second level.


House in Shintou - Japanese House - SNARK + OUVI - Exterior - Humble Homes

The building’s footprint comes to just 624 square feet (58 square meters). According to the architects, they had to design the building in such a way so as to make it obvious that it was a store: “It needed to hold a commercial presence. Therefore, we decided to make the whole architecture as a sign.”


House in Shintou - Japanese House - SNARK + OUVI - Kitchen - Humble Homes

The store on the bottom floor features windows along its length. On the top floor however, there’s barely a hint of the residence (from the street view), providing privacy for the occupants. The crisp finish and form of the exterior helps to draw attention to it, whereas the interior is intended to frame the space.


House in Shintou - Japanese House - SNARK + OUVI - Living Room - Humble Homes

The house itself is a light open space, colored by the timber rafters overhead. There’s a minimalist finish throughout that helps to create an atmosphere of calm, and relaxation – it’s a retreat from the day-to-day work of running the store on the level below.

House in Shintou - Japanese House - SNARK + OUVI - Loft - Humble Homes

The kitchen is very basic. There are no cabinets or drawers, but a few shelves, a worktop, a sink and a cooktop. The “dining area” is set between the living room and kitchen, and is defined simply by a table and chairs. The living area is the most generous space with built in storage, and a patio door leading out to a small terrace.

House in Shintou - Japanese House - SNARK + OUVI - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

A separate toilet, bathroom, and washroom are found behind the living room, squeezed into a triangular space. The bedroom is found behind the kitchen and contains a rather large walk-in closet. Finally, the third level of the home, accessed by a set of ladders, leads up to a bright lofted area which can be used for storage, or even as an extra sleeping space for guests.

For more Japanese houses check out this contemporary family home that’s designed for several generations. Or this functional home in Niigata called OH! House. See all Japanese houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Ippei Shinzawa

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. The outside looks awkward, like the building was chopped in half..the windows upstairs look too small, it is necessary that it is minimalist, if it had any evidence of real life it seems it might be overwhelming.
    I would like to see humans and life there to be convinced.. would love to see the kitchen..and it would be great to note the orientation.. is the front due south??