Making the Most of a Confined Lot – Frame House

Set in Nakano-Ku, Tokyo and designed by architecture firm APOLLO Architects & Associates, this small house utilised modern construction techniques to save both time and cost. Completed in June 2014, the house has been built for a young couple.


Frame - Small Japanese House - Apollo Architects & Associates - Exterior - Humble Homes

The structure of the house made use of a FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) formwork, into which in-situ concrete could then be poured. The architects have stated that this allowed them to save on construction costs, when compared to the more traditional forms of construction.


Frame - Small Japanese House - Apollo Architects & Associates - Tokyo - Living Area - Humble Homes

As the house is located in an area which is susceptible to flooding and torrential rain, the architects introduced a step up to the entrance level (which is 800 mm, or feet above the ground level). A single sheltered car park space is found adjacent to the entrance.


Frame - Small Japanese House - Apollo Architects & Associates - Tokyo - Cantilevered Staircase - Humble Homes

The first floor contains the master bedroom and the bathroom, as well as an array of storage closets. The main living area can be found on the second floor, which features an open plan kitchen, dining and living room. The front-end of the living room sports a large floor-to-ceiling window, drawing in natural light and providing views out onto the cityscape.

Frame - Small Japanese House - Apollo Architects & Associates - Tokyo - Roof Terrace - Humble Homes

On the third floor you’ll find a studio space which has been purposely designed for the clients, one of whom is a fashion photographer. The other half of this floor is dedicated to a roof-top terrace that overlooks the street below. There also appears to be a steel ladder embedded into the concrete wall in the terrace, providing access to the uppermost section of the house (most likely most maintenance purposes).

Frame - Small Japanese House - Apollo Architects & Associates - Tokyo - Cross-Section - Humble Homes

Small strip windows are installed along the back end of the building where views are limited, but the openings still provide a means of lighting up the space. According to the architects, construction costs in Japan are on the increase, forcing home owners to seek affordable alternatives, like this low-cost reinforced concrete structure.

For more Japanese houses check out Hiyoshi House, a small and simple home by EANA. Or, this modern and comfortable home by Tofu Architects. See all Japanese houses.

Via Dezeen
Photos: Masao Nishikawa

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.

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