CONCEALED JAPANESE HOMES – Zoe Cooper
As in many industrialized nations, Japan’s population is heavily concentrated in its urban areas, with over 90% of its citizens living in crowded cities. As a result, land plots tend to have small, narrow footprints meant to create living space for as many households as possible. In response to limited building parameters, architects have designed innovative solutions to maximize both privacy and natural light in Japanese homes.
Following our earlier post exploring transparency in Japanese homes, we’re taking a look at the extreme opposite in Japanese residential design. Inspired by Phaidon’s excellent book Jutaku: Japanese Houses, the following collection of urban residences utilize dramatic concealment to maintain privacy and mitigate street noise. The lack of public-facing windows makes a bold visual statement, one that evokes the feeling of secrecy or disguise. Uninterrupted by open windows and doors, the seemingly concealed house debunks the viewer’s expectations of the home as a place to feel welcome and comfortable.
Once we step inside the home, however, the private space feels open and well lit. Windows facing an inner courtyard, the southern posterior, or up to the sky, illuminate and ventilate the interior spaces. The residents are able to enjoy a quiet, light-filled home in the middle of a dense urban environment without compromising their privacy — or hearing the neighbors’ every move.