Uzi House – A Private Family Home that Plays with Light

This modern Japanese home can be found in a residential neighborhood of Hironocho, Uji in the Kyoto Prefecture. The property, titled Uzi House, has been designed by local architecture firm ALTS Design Office.


The architects were tasked by the clients with creating a private residence with a “better ambience”. The brief has resulted in the home that plays with light and levels.

Uzi House - ALTS Design Office - Hironocho Kyoto - Exterior - Humble Homes


The site has a total of 1,109 square feet (103 square meters). Uzi House itself is considerably smaller after deducting space for car parking and surrounding gardens. It’s a mostly inward looking design – it features an outer facade that encloses a smaller courtyard and maintains the owners privacy.

Uzi House - ALTS Design Office - Hironocho Kyoto - Dining Area - Humble Homes


The interior of the home is a mix of light and dark spaces. This is in part due to the outer courtyard walls blocking light, and also the dark wood found throughout. Most of the walls have been painted white, however the central hub and ceiling has been clad in a dark-stained wood which soaks up a lot of the light.

Uzi House - ALTS Design Office - Hironocho Kyoto - Dining and Living Room - Humble Homes

The modern finish of the home is contrasted by the much more traditional and homey furniture pieces. In contrast to most contemporary designs, the floor plan seems to have been divided up into a number of small rooms, which has the effect of creating more a intimate space.

Uzi House - ALTS Design Office - Hironocho Kyoto - Staircase - Humble Homes

The first floor contains a small entrance courtyard, a downstairs toilet, a dining room that leads into a living room, and a kitchen with a full washroom to the back. The second floor features the master bedroom, the children’s room and a large walk-in storage closet.

Uzi House - ALTS Design Office - Hironocho Kyoto - Floor Plans - Humble Homes

They’ve sacrificed space on the second floor to accommodate the vaulted ceiling on the first – it’s probably necessary to maintain a sense of space given the dark finishes. From the architects: “The design of this house is made to protect the privacy of it’s residents, you can live there without any worry.”

For more Japanese properties check out Tenhachi House, a family apartment with playful shared living spaces. Or this compact house that’s designed for several generations. See all Japanese houses.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Alts Design Office

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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