The shortage of living space in Japan has inspired some rather creative, unusual, and fascinating architecture. The Kusatsu House from Alts Design Office is another project that was adapted to fit the building site rather than the other way around.
The home is located right next to a parking lot in Shiga. The only barrier between the house and the car park is a short wall with a fence. The two-story home is also very close to other homes and apartment buildings, so the architects had to figure out a way to make the home comfortable while preserving the residents’ privacy.
They came up with an elegant solution that fits the home and the space perfectly. Along the wall facing the parking lot, they created an “outside space in the inside space.”
Blocked from the view of the car park by a one-story wall, the walkway is enclosed at both ends by glazing. The side of the house opens up into this enclosed courtyard-like space with huge glass doors.
The enclosed walkway is topped off by skylights, so the space is always filled with natural light which is then allowed to filter into the house through the walkway-facing glass.
In this unique space, a rock garden and traditional Japanese tatami area greet the residents and allow for moments of reflection. The open floor plan inside further encourages the movement of light and makes the outdoor space feel like an uninterrupted continuation of the indoor space.