Rebirth House – Japanese Storehouse Gets a Traditional Makeover

This Japanese building originally served as a storehouse, and was first built over 120 years ago. The storehouse was partially damaged during the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, but in 2014 the site was acquired by new owners who set about restoring it.


RebirthHouse - Ryo Matsui Architects - Japan - Exterior - Humble Homes

The project has been dubbed the Rebirth House by the designers, Ryo Matsui Architects. All in all it features a total of 1,184 square feet (110 square meters) spread over a basement, first floor, and mezzanine. Given it’s history, the architects attempted to keep the majority of existing structure.


RebirthHouse - Ryo Matsui Architects - Japan - Dining Area - Humble Homes

During the renovation it was found that some aspects of the structure couldn’t be repaired. Instead they were replaced with new materials that would help maintain the character and atmosphere of the property.


RebirthHouse - Ryo Matsui Architects - Japan - Roof Structure - Humble Homes

From the outside the Rebirth House appears to be much smaller than it actually is. It’s been finished with a translucent wall cladding that allows difussed light to filter through to the interior during the day. At night the square-openings are visible, providing some extra points of interest.

RebirthHouse - Ryo Matsui Architects - Japan - Wine Cellar - Humble Homes

The interior is bright and spacious thanks to the all-white finish and the tall exposed roof. The timber structure steals the show and draws your eyes upwards. Despite its name, Rebirth House hasn’t been converted to a home. Instead it partly maintains its original use, acting as a wine cellar in the basement.

RebirthHouse - Ryo Matsui Architects - Japan - Cross-Section - Humble Homes

The basement, unlike the upper level, is dark and moody. Surrounded by red-brick walls, and containing a table and chairs, it’s quite a relaxing space that’s intended for entertaining guests and family. From the architects: “Inheriting from the old memory and the new behavior, we hope it becomes the house that be loved from generation to generation.”

For more Japanese houses check out this small industrial-inspired home called Ishibe House. Or, this multi-generational home by KASA Architects. See all Japanese houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Nacasa

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. I like the openness but where are the bedroom. I do not like the ladder in the first picture. What is that space for? A Bedroom, a place to look outside and the stars, to play in. Have stairs built and storage in the stairs going up or put a washer and dryer or pantry for storage possibly both sides. with railings on both sides instead of a ladder. If you want a house/apartment to go from generation to generation, you have to accommodate people getting older or having accidents. Staircase would be easier to climb instead of a ladder.

  2. the ladders to get from floor to floor are a disappointment. Love the preservation of the old elements especially on the top floor. There is no storage for anything. This is not so much a dwelling as an idiosyncratic sculpture for a physically fit individual.

  3. Bwa ha ha, Mary J and kristina nadreau, you totally miss the point of this piece… this is a rebirth house.This is NOT meant as a house for living rather it is for recharging your batteries. Getting away from all things and thinking about life, your life partner, or lack thereof etc. Otherwise known as a retreat

    2 clues… firstly the name, secondly the location of the building with other buildings.

    Remember, not all cultures adhere to the inherent insanity of western culture. And yes, I was born, grew up in, and live in the insanity of current western cultural norms.