Now this is one heck of a design constraint! A super narrow and super long trapezoidal lot in Tokyo, that is further constrained by setbacks from the property lines. Nothing like that kind of limitation to get the creative juices flowing, and the resulting lantern of a house is one nifty solution.
It’s cool enough on the outside, but to really get what’s going on within I find a section through the building tells the story the best:
The big move is to place most of the living spaces underground where the setback didn’t apply, thus maximizing the available width (still only about 10’ wide!). A long and linear (ok, natch, how could it be anything but long and linear on this property?) kitchen occupies the middle of the basement, with a living room up front and the washroom in back. Upstairs is the bedroom with (again) a linear hallway leading to the back door. What makes this all work, however, is that the building skin is made of translucent panels, and the floors above are of metal mesh, allowing light to suffuse and penetrate all the way down to the basement living areas.
Unfortunately, I can’t find any photos looking towards the living room or the bedroom area, which is too bad as those are likely some of the most powerful places within the house. But the experience of being in this luminous cathedral-ceiling like house has got to be pretty neat no matter where you are.
I love it, a great example of taking something that seems unusable and turning it into something of wonder. Great work.