|2005 Spring - The Very Small Home - Four Free Magazines
The very small home
Americans are accustomed to living in spacious houses, with large pieces of furniture and sizable private gardens. The way Japanese designers make such effective use of small spaces to build comfortable but compact homes is intriguing to them. They would be very dubious, for example, that it's possible to build a pleasant, airy home with good natural lighting on a mere 33.1 square meters (355 square feet) of land.
"Japan's small homes have been receiving a lot of praise recently, and this has been attracting attention even in the United States," says American architect and author Azby Brown. "As more attention is paid to the elements of the Japanese way of livingfrom tatami mats to sitting on the floor and sleeping on a futonpeople want to know more about the various ideas that make it possible for the Japanese to live well in such small spaces."
In his new book The Very Small Home, Brown introduces 20 modern and traditional houses that he has specially selected. He presents descriptions with photographs, floor plans, and illustrations. Valuable tips on how to make the most of a limited area address the use of natural light, ventilation, bathrooms, and private spaces such as studies, which he calls nooks.
These are special houses: one has its own car gallery, another a tree house, and another a living room with 360-degree panoramic views. Naturally, if a custom-designed building on a small lot is ever going to be a comfortable place to live, a high level of communication is essential between the architect and the prospective inhabitants. Experience in Japan shows that it is possible to live well and meet most of the needs of the modern world without thinking big.
Artist, architect, and author, Brown is head of the Future Design Institute and associate professor at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology's Department of Architecture. He has authored The Genius of Japanese Carpentry, Small Spaces, and other works. He also produces artworks in Japan and overseas.
Published by Kodansha International
New book on sale now in Japan and in the United States in May.
Articles from the 2005 SPRING issue:
Kateigaho International Edition Issues:
2005 SUMMER - 2005 SPRING - 2005 WINTER
2004 AUTUMN - 2004 SUMMER - 2004 SPRING - 2004 WINTER
2003 AUTUMN - INAUGURAL ISSUE