House R

House R

Keizo Ikemura
Tokyo, Japan | View Map
Project Year
Private Houses
Nobuaki Nakagawa

House R

Keizo Ikemura as Architects

This is a renovation of an over 40 year-old small house in Tokyo.

The compaction with thousands of small wooden houses is typical scenery of downtown Tokyo. But, most of the houses there, like the house in this project, are not concerned about their long existence, and just waiting to be collapsed as the waste of material.

The challenge of the project is to revitalize this 50 square meter-small worn-out housing, to fit into contemporary lifestyle for its sustain.



The site is on an area of density, near from a train station. Because this area was developed in a time of pre-motorization, most of the streets, there, are too narrow to allow a car-access. The 2.4 meters wide street, in front of this house, is not the exception of them. Houses along the street stand quite close each other, such as less than 300 millimeters in a distance from neighbor’s wall.

The stresses for the people living in this area are the lack of distance from others and the lack of sunlight in the cause of its physical compaction.



This project was aimed to fit this small housing into the contemporary lifestyle with the incorporation of the following three issues.

1.    The sunlight supply.

2.    The cognitive expansion.

3.    The spatial complexity.


As the house stands too close to the edge of the street and the street is too narrow to be free from pedestrians’ eyes, it was difficult for the light supply to keep a window open on its side. Opening on each of the other three sides also does not work well because of the sunlight block by the neighbor walls.

In this house, sunlight showers from the sky. It falls down to the ground of interior with filtered by a roof of corrugated FRP, a cloth of glass fiber, and a slab of FRP honeycomb core.


For the cognitive expansion, space of the house is treated in the sequence of the street as well as a representation of it. The interior is sprit by a wall stood along a longitude direction of the house, and folded to the upward. So that the folded narrow and long space with the several distances between floors and ceilings continues from the street of a pedestrian height to the street above, to recognize it in the relation to the street environment with the proper distance from neighbors.


Instead of the monotony of a resting place, the spatial complexity is the demand for contemporary lifestyle.It is not achieved by material variation but by the condition of the sunlight. The skylight, as a nature, is much more wild and delicate. It changes continuously and dramatically by seasonal and daily weather condition, and by leaning of the sun. The skylight across the folded space creates changing spatial condition. It induces various appearances to the interior with the material reflection.

The spatial complexity, then, emerges by the mergence with the falling sunlight and the sequential space.

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