Japanese architect Toyo Ito is known for grand decorative gestures and ?sweeping organic shapes, which makes this small prefab cabin design both fitting and unusual. On the one hand, it certainly stands out … but, on the other hand, it is quite simple and geometric.

A closer look, however, reveals much of his architectural approach unfolding in slightly different ways that are a bit more subtle than (but perhaps still as ingenious as) his signature-style design moves.

While his larger-scale projects often have natural-looking elements to offset their rectilinear shapes, a similar contrast is achieved through the juxtaposition of bright metal exterior cladding and wooden-themed interior.

The initial ‘design gesture’ of the folded-looking shell takes on other layers of function, providing a sun-and-rain overhang shielding the front entryway (by jutting out above) while creating a porch platform out back (via the inverse cantilever out the rear). The entire structure is set up on stilts, making it partially flood-proof but also foundation-independent and thus more mobile.

Inside, the feel is not too different from a classic cabin – a single main story for living and dining, with a partial loft space for sleeping above. After all, as a modular prefab, keeping materials, proportions and scales relatively simple is the key to making them fast, cheap and efficient. (Images by Tsuneho Asada)