12 houses that go beyond four walls and a roof

Jutaku demonstrates just how varied and engaging the Japanese domestic environment has become
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S House, Yuusuke Karasawa, 2013, Oomiya, Saitama Prefecture. From Jutaku

1 / 12 S House, Yuusuke Karasawa, 2013, Oomiya, Saitama Prefecture. From Jutaku

 Lotus House, Kengo Kuma, 2005, Kanagawa Prefecture. From Jutaku

2 / 12 Lotus House, Kengo Kuma, 2005, Kanagawa Prefecture. From Jutaku

Swelled House, Studio Velocity, 2011, Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. From Jutaku

3 / 12 Swelled House, Studio Velocity, 2011, Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. From Jutaku

Juul House, NKS Architects, 2012, Yukuhashi, Fukuoka Prefecture

4 / 12 Juul House, NKS Architects, 2012, Yukuhashi, Fukuoka Prefecture

Crescent House, Shigeru Ban, 2008, Takata, Shizuoka Prefecture. From Jutaku

5 / 12 Crescent House, Shigeru Ban, 2008, Takata, Shizuoka Prefecture. From Jutaku

Nasu Tepee, NAP, 2013, Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. From Jutaku

6 / 12 Nasu Tepee, NAP, 2013, Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. From Jutaku

Zinc House, Terunobu Fujimori, 2014, Kokubunji, Tokyo Prefecture. From Jutaku

7 / 12 Zinc House, Terunobu Fujimori, 2014, Kokubunji, Tokyo Prefecture. From Jutaku

House in Abiko, Fuse Atelier, 2011, Abiko, Chiba Prefecture. From Jutaku

8 / 12 House in Abiko, Fuse Atelier, 2011, Abiko, Chiba Prefecture. From Jutaku

Pilotis in a Forest, Go Hasegawa, 2010, Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. From Jutaku

9 / 12 Pilotis in a Forest, Go Hasegawa, 2010, Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. From Jutaku

House Snapped, Naf Architect, 2012, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture. From Jutaku

10 / 12 House Snapped, Naf Architect, 2012, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture. From Jutaku

House in Makuhari-Nishi, Fuse Atelier, 1999, Mihama-ku, Chiba Prefecture. From Jutaku

11 / 12 House in Makuhari-Nishi, Fuse Atelier, 1999, Mihama-ku, Chiba Prefecture. From Jutaku

House in Gotanda, Go Hasegawa, 2006, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Prefecture. From Jutaku

12 / 12 House in Gotanda, Go Hasegawa, 2006, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Prefecture. From Jutaku


Only in Japan could something as dull and restrictive as domestic building codes result in so wild and innovative a selection of architectural designs. As the architect and writer Naomi Pollock explains in our new book Jutaku, Japan is a rich nation with a strong cultural aversion to old houses; the real estate resale market is more or less non-existent. High inheritance taxes make it difficult for families with property to hang on to their land, and when plots are sold, they’re often subdivided. “Consequently Japanese cities have been caught up in a seemingly endless cycle of more and more people living on less and less land,” Pollock writes.

Add some exacting building requirements – such as the Sunshine Laws that restrict the amount of daylight a building can obscure – and the pressure on architects to come up with a modern home in difficult circumstances has led to the creation of some of the most impressive, and at times bizarre, houses ever erected. Browse through this brief selection above, and if you like what you see, buy a copy of our new book Jutaku here.


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