Torafu Creates a Multi-Generation Home on a 15-Foot-Wide Lot

Japanese architecture firm Torafu designed this narrow house in Tokyo back in 2010 for a family. Dubbed “House in Ookayama”, the family home was built to accommodate two generations, and contains both private and shared living spaces.


House in Ookayama - Multi-Generational House - Torafu Architects - Japan - Exterior - Humble Homes

The building is set on a 15-by-54 (4.7-by-16.5) meter site that originally belonged to the owner’s parents. It contains a total of 1350 square feet (105 square meters) spread over 2.5 floors. Flanked by other buildings on three sides, the architects main challenge was reducing the perception of narrowness, both inside and out.


House in Ookayama - Multi-Generational House - Torafu Architects - Japan - Kitchen - Humble Homes

The entryway and stairwell have been placed off-center, splitting the home into two sections: the public living spaces and private bedrooms. The interior is largely open plan, allowing you to look down the length of the building. Large windows and skylights have been used to maintain the natural daylighting, despite its close quarters to adjacent houses.


House in Ookayama - Multi-Generational House - Torafu Architects - Japan - Living Area - Humble Homes

The lower floor has been designed for the owner’s parents, providing them with ease of access. The upper level is home to the owners and their child. To squeeze all the living spaces in, the architects have employed split levels in places. The upstairs bedroom contains a lower master bedroom for the adults and an upper bedroom for their child.

House in Ookayama - Multi-Generational House - Torafu Architects - Japan - Cross Section - Humble Homes

Because they wanted to take advantage of the roof slope and incorporate skylights, the storage loft has been sandwiched between the upper and lower living spaces. From the architects: “This random-looking composition is made like a multifunctional stacking that can be seen as one large piece of furniture… blurring the boundaries between building and furniture.”

For more Japanese houses check out the “House to Catch a Tree” that frames views of foliage. Or, this barn that’s been built with flexibility in mind for future use. See all Japanese houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Daici Ano

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. Why not use 4″ SIP panels instead of those thick walls and beat earthquakes at the same time?

  2. With such a difficult site, I think I would have liked another floor. I do admire the Japanese use of space and always simple design. thanks for this one.