Shirokane House in Tokyo Plays with Light and Shadow

This relatively small unassuming house in Tokyo is placed on a site that measures 64.5 square meters (694 square feet). The house was designed by the architecture firm MDS and is located in a dense residential area of Tokyo, where houses are built within close proximity to one another so as to capitalise on the available space.


Shirokane House by MDS - Tokyo - Japan - Small House - Exterior - Humble Homes

Called Shirokane House, the home contains approximately 102 square meters (1098 square feet) of usable floor space. According to the architect, the first floor in this type of house is usually as large as possible, however the clients decided they could live with a smaller first floor if it would allow them to incorporate a parking space. To compensate for this, they made the second floor as large the larger, more open plan of the two.


Shirokane House by MDS - Tokyo - Japan - Small House - Kitchen - Humble Homes

As can be seen from the plan, the first floor is divided up into 4 areas. It contains a small kitchen and dining room, a bathroom, the entryway, and the staircase to the open plan staircase. The basement contains two bedrooms a large storage room, and another bathroom.


Shirokane House by MDS - Tokyo - Japan - Small House - Sitting Room - Humble Homes

The second and final floor features a large and bright open plan living area that looks down into the kitchen below. There’s also a small terrace and study space on this floor. From the architect: “There are basic requirements for a house… such as privacy protection and ample daylight and ventilation. It, however, takes a little ingenuity to satisfy such requirements under a given condition that a site is surrounded by the neighboring buildings.”

Shirokane House by MDS - Tokyo - Japan - Small House - Living Room - Humble Homes

“For the site, the southern site across the road is “tentatively” a parking space and no one can tell what will happen in the future. The daylight is, therefore, taken in from the above as much as possible and it is brought downstairs… The irregular shape at the corner of the site allows the house continuously to keep privacy as well as daylight and ventilation.

The building looks quiet only with the entrance on the south façade, it embraces expressive internal spaces where light and shadow change by the minute.”

Shirokane House by MDS - Tokyo - Japan - Small House - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

For more small houses check out this house in Toronto that’s been built on a parking space by Rohan Walter. Or this year-round ski house in Hakuba, Japan that’s been designed by Naka Studio. See all small houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Forward Stroke inc.

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.