Japan is well-known for its amazing architecture, from its beautiful, ancient temples, to the incredible skyscrapers of the future, or even enormous futuristic pyramids. Japan is one of the few non-European countries to have received multiple Pritzker Prizes, architecture’s highest award.
But believe it or not, Japanese architecture isn’t just a field for for museums or skyscrapers. Some people live in these spectacular works of art. Let’s take a look at the coolest houses in recent years in Japan.
Not pictured: a creepy girl from “The Ring”
Named after the series of wood and glass rings that make up the building (not the Japanese movie of the same name), the Ring House (輪の家) is located in a country retreat near Nagano.
When developers were having difficulty selling land, they hired architecture firm Takei-Nabeshima Architects (TNA) to design something unique that would attract people to buy up land and live there. What TNA delivered went above and beyond everybody’s expectations.
The house definitely looks cool, but I’m not sure how comfortable I would be with all of those windows all over the house. I’ve seen enough movies to know that lots of windows in a house in the middle of the woods spells bad news.
More pictures on the architecture firm’s site here.
No, it’s not that kind of house, you perv. The 3Way House, while looking normal on the outside, is named for the three ways that people can move around the house.
Most houses just have stairs to move up and down between levels, but the 3Way House has freakin’ ladders and a rock climbing wall that goes all the way up through the center of the house.
It’s basically the house you dreamed of as a kid. All that’s missing are fireman’s poles and slides.
A married couple and their two children live in this house and I’ll admit that I’m a little jealous that these kids get to grow up in a house like this. Maybe I can convince these people to adopt me into their family (please?).
More about the 3Way house on the architect’s site here.
Garden & House
Located in the heart of Tokyo, this aptly named Garden & House maximizes the limited space that it’s given. Real estate is obviously at a premium in the country’s capital, so Garden & House does its best to expand up.
Designed by Pritzker-winning architect Ryue Nishizawa, the four-story house is mostly white with giant, floor-to-ceiling windows that are only covered by curtains. There aren’t even any interior walls to help out with privacy.
As if the dozens of house plants weren’t enough, one floor of the house even has a thin layer of dirt to make the house feel more organic.
Read more and see more pictures at domus.
The Jyubako House (重箱の家) is a three-tiered house in Tokyo modeled after jyubaku, a traditional stacked Japanese lunchbox, like the one above.
The house was designed for its owner’s love of two things: food and bath. The second floor contains a beautiful, open kitchen and dining room, and that’s pretty much it.
The third floor holds a bathtub and little else. The top of the house is completely open so you can laze in the tub and watch the sky for hours. Absolutely beautiful.
For more, see the Tezuka architects’ site.
One Japanese custom I think is interesting is how the Japanese pack up their futons in the morning and store them away during the day. To me, it’s pretty darn cool that you can transform the functionality of a room so quickly and easily.
The Drawer House takes that to the next and tries to hide everything that’s not in use, leaving only bare wooden walls and floors. Walls fold out to reveal staircases, counter tops, shelving, and more.
The result is a very clean, simple house nestled in Tokyo, a city that is anything but.
More info and pictures at the architect’s site.
Which one of these house would you like to live in? I can’t decide which one would be the most fun, but my vote goes to climbing wall 3Way house. When it comes down to it, I’m just a child stuck in a
really really good looking and buff man’s body.