House in Kashiwa courtyard

Rooms lacking walls and built-in surfaces may not provide much privacy, but they enable boundless flexibility, so the occupants can use them however they like. Tokyo-based Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop envisions the House in Kashiwa as a ‘container’ that organizes living spaces without constricting or defining their purpose.

House in Kashiwa view from room
House in Kashiwa bathroom

Within the main volume, four wooden two-story boxes are angled toward a central open space. Full-height glazed walls allow sunlight to pour into the entire structure, including each individual room. The first floor of each box can function as a kitchen, bathroom, work space or bedroom, while the second level has been left ‘blank.’

House in Kashiwa stairs
House in Kashiwa at dusk

The idea is that clothes, kitchen goods and hobby-related items can be freely placed, so that if the family’s needs change, they can simply switch the rooms around. For example, the arrival of a baby during the design stage required no change in plans, since there were already so many undefined spaces available.

House in Kashiwa exterior

The glazed walls and interior boxes are angled so that they frame views trees or the sky rather than a neighboring house, providing some sense of privacy despite the extremely open design.

“A ‘container’ that changes as you design and live in it, and design it, on top of the challenge of living in such a house must continue to give you the pleasure of living there. Clothes, kitchen goods and other things related to their hobbies can be freely placed, and their living space can be filled with things that promote enjoyment and happiness in their lives.”

House in Kashiwa from loft
House in Kashiwa plan

“Each space meets the minimum size required for the designated function, such as the kitchen and bathroom, by 910 modules. They act as not rooms but function spaces and the central hub is an open ceiling space where the 4 boxes, each with a function contributing to their daily lives are gathered around this central space.”

“Without limiting it to 910 modules, I positioned the angle of the central space and boxes so that from all windows the view is of trees or the sky, not the neighbouring house or their windows. Also the angle between the kitchen and adjacent boxes on both layers allows a clear view from the kitchen to the box, especially in the event that the box is used as a children’s room.”