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All architecture has to start somewhere, so why not with the favorite family pet? Designed around the needs of its smallest residents, this compact Japanese dwelling blends fixed needs with fluid spaces for both humans and cats alike.

The feline-friendly shelving also organizes space, driven by and driving other design decisions including the placement of openings, counters and cabinets.

Framed in wood, these simple custom innovations by the Japanese firm Key Operation form another layer of detail that matches the window trims and built-ins found on various floors of the structure.

On the outside, local building codes necessitated dull grey stucco-covered sides but allowed sufficient freedom for unusually-square windows of various sizes (and the ability to paint a partially-enclosed garage a rather garish pink).

As models of the spaces show, there is rich complexity in plan and section enhanced by a playfully-tilted roof. Coupled with colorful illustrations, one can start to see a cat-like meandering in the method of the layout.