Tato Architects Redesign a Small Traditional Japanese House

This, once traditional, Japanese house recently underwent a redesign to convert it into a modern, functional home suitable for a young couple. The revamp was carried out by local architecture firm Tato Architects, and the house itself can be found in Hyogo prefecture.


House in Kamisawa - Tato Architects - Japan - Exterior - Humble Homes

The house has been simply dubbed “House in Kamisawa”. All told, it contains a total of 936 square feet (87 square meters). The front face of the building has been opened with glazed doors along its length that introduce plenty of natural light and make the most of the narrow garden.


House in Kamisawa - Tato Architects - Japan - Kitchen and Living Room - Humble Homes

The original building featured a very traditional interior with the space being divided into six main rooms. However, the architects felt a more open plan layout would be better suited to the clients: “The existing house contained many rooms, which seemed to be unsuitable for a young couple who were starting a new life there.”


House in Kamisawa - Tato Architects - Japan - Partitions - Humble Homes

They removed the interior walls and replaced them with a single large space into which they could insert curved partitions to create rooms. The roof and structure of the house were also revealed, allowing the building to maintain its sense of character and history.

House in Kamisawa - Tato Architects - Japan - Guest Room - Humble Homes

The left side of the house is now dedicated to storage and wash room facilities. The right side feature the master bedroom and a large walk-in closet. The space between is taken up by an open plan kitchen, dining and living room, with the bathroom and a guest room set within the curving plywood screens.

House in Kamisawa - Tato Architects - Japan -Floor Plan - Humble Homes

A concrete floor was installed with built in underfloor heating. For ventilation and cooling, the occupants are able to open up large patio doors to the front. To provide some additional storage space, a small loft can be found above the master bedroom and is accessed by ladder.

For more Japanese houses check out Takeshi Shikauchi’s small house that features two residences in one. Or, this small house that uses passive design to combat the elements. See all Japanese houses.

Via Dezeen
Photos: Shinkenchiku Sha

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. Interesting approach., though the curved partial partitions strike me as strange. The finished product appears to be “unfinished” and cold, but then I have never favored the “modern” minimalist look. These comments are respectfully submitted.

  2. While I kind of like the layout it is sadly compromised by the unfinished ceiling/roof. Just makes it look sad and tacky to me. Which is a shame.

  3. you are right Paul. It is looking unfinished and the closed areas seemed to cut off the space. I still don’t like the openness of glass from floor to ceiling. Safety concerns for me plus when it is hot and sunny. The sun could heat up the interior of the house/apartment. Maybe the windows/doors could be darken and partial wooden or brick to protect or possibly bullet proof glass with the glass darken to not alert people on the street that you are alone. If on several stories high, might work but still would like more structure either wood, brick or concrete for protection and safety. Have the place open and airy with possible partitions maybe be waist high with A/C and heating.