House in Hokusetsu by Tato Architects

A crystalline labyrinth

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards Tato Architects for providing the following description:


Well-planned houses are sometimes too close to human lives. While they are comfortable, I feel that too much planning has the risk of forcing a pre-defined lifestyle onto the residents. Perhaps if we start the process from a point not too close to the client’s initial wishes, and seek an autonomous solution while considering various conditions, we will ultimately enable them to live more freely and actively.

▼建筑概览,project overview


Simply-angled, geometric spaces are one of the possible forms for the residents to pursue freedom and make full use of an autonomous space. Since we are familiar with spaces designed with right angles, it is easy to measure their spatial volumes and relationships. However, by slightly turning the corners where the walls intersect, our spatial awareness suddenly becomes complicated, and we feel as if the limited space has expanded.

▼住宅街道视角,Exterior, as seen from the road


▼模型研究,model study

▼首层平面图,plan level 1

House in Hokusetsu is a house for a family who wishes to enjoy a life filled with everyday discoveries, and appreciate each other’s presence. Because they wanted to have many rooms, twelve 2.895-millimeter squares were arranged to connect to each other with a rhombus composed of two regular triangles. I had been sensing potential in this pattern from earlier studies, where we had experimented by making models(fig 1.2). As the twelve squares are gradually turned to become a sequence of eighteen squares(fig 3-8), a position that fit nicely into the site was selected, creating a dynamic pattern out of all the different angles. The main functions were primarily placed within the square parts of the plan, and the rhombus areas were left undefined for free use.

▼鸟瞰图,aerial view

▼入口区域,洗手间位于镜子后方,Entrance, toilet behind mirror door

▼从书房望向庭院和餐厅,Courtyard/Inner garden 4 and Dinning, seen from the Study

▼从楼梯望向庭院,view from the free space/stair

▼从餐厅望向客厅,view to the living room from the dining area

▼客厅,living room

▼从客厅望向和室与餐厅,Dinning and Japanese room, seen from the Living room

▼从餐厅望向厨房,View towards the Kitchen, as seen from Dinning


▼可自由使用的辅助空间,Spare and Hobby room

▼从辅助空间望向中庭,View from the Spare room door


▼轴测图,Axonometric drawing

The structure remains relatively closed to its surroundings, which was the client’s wish. There are three garden spaces along the outer perimeter, and two courtyards on the interior. As a result of the plan pattern design, both indoor spaces and courtyards are brightened by top light, and illuminated with various forms of light. Since exposure to outdoor scenery, to which one can position himself, is limited, the space encourages the residents to travel between the different rooms to rediscover their own location.  The structure is made of wood, and each square plan is simply supported by pillars, resulting in a peaceful interior despite its unique form.

▼屋顶平台,Roof Deck

▼自由空间和入口楼梯,Free space/Stair and Entrance

▼从庭院望向琴房,Piano room, seen from Courtyard/Inner garden 4

▼从客厅望向餐厅,View from the Living room

▼从卧室望向中庭,View from the Bedroom


The design of this house has a simplicity similar to ‘a cross inside a square’ plan used in old houses. Each part, while representing a different quality, is also compatible and expandable, and there is possibility for various circulations to emerge. This house is filled with autonomous spaces that can accommodate changes in lifestyle; it is a crystalline labyrinth where the spaces are repeatedly reflected into a prismatic figure.

▼屋顶结构,Looking up at the roof structure

▼场地平面图,site plan

▼首层平面图,plan level 1

▼二层平面图,plan level 2

House in Hokusetsu
Location: Osaka, Japan
House/Family Structure / Parents + Child
Design: Tato Architects/Yo Shimada
Team / Yo Shimada, Nobuhiko Sato
Takashi Manda Structural Design
Team / Takashi Manda, Taijiro Kato
Construction: Hirota Co.,Ltd.
Structure: Main Structure, Timber
Scale: Two-story house
Site Area 381.27㎡
Building Area 150.53㎡ (39.48% of max 40% of coverage ratio permission)
Total Floor Area 196.07㎡ (51.42% of max 80% of floor area ratio permission)
Completion: 2015

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