Matsubara House
Hiroshi Ueda

Matsubara House

Shimada Asset Partners as Architects

What was the brief?
An apartment containing mainly very small studio rooms (from 15㎡), located in the densely populated area of Tokyo, is constructed with enhanced designs, materials, colors, and scale referenced and combined by a variety of “House” prototypes. Most of the apartments in Japan are economically oriented and have a uniform facade, which are unsuitable to the surrounding environment and landscape, making residents feel detached to the community. Our unique three-dimensional architecture provides a convenient and enjoyable living space, where tenants can feel comfortable to call their studio room “My House”.

This project is a 25-room apartment building, mainly consisting of very small studio units.
There is a tendency for studio apartment buildings to be unpopular in residential areas, andthis, for example, is due to the lack of community participation by residents and its uniformed appearance.


Countering the common image of studio apartments, this project was designed to
1) Create houses where young adults, can feel satisfied and happy to call their unit “My House”.
2) Create a modern and unique housing that neither destroys the urban landscape nor buries it, but appears as if it has always been there, blending in with the neighborhood.


What were the key challenges?
Changing the image of common apartments in Japan, we divided the volume of the entire building into a scale that would make it feel and look like a "House". These volumes (the prototype of the house, i.e., the gable roof and the shed roof) are placed, slightly staggered.

A variety of colored asphalt shingles that originally look weathered are used for the roof and exterior walls of the building, intending to make the “house” appear to be a simple “mass”.

As a result of the "shift" and "change of color" of the “houses”, the sense of oppression due to the building volume is reduced and a sense of rhythm is created in the site.

As of the interior, every room is graphically color-coded to express the individuality of the residents. The size of the room is small, but we have made an effort to make if feel spacious and convenient by creating a simple three-dimensional design. The room is also customizable for residents, allowing tenants to freely create a comfortable space to work or take online classes from home, and enjoy spending more time indoors. Each room contains a Genkan, a Japanese style entrance, where tenants can dust off and take off their shoes.


What materials did you choose and why?
Although a variety of colored (weathered) asphalt shingles used for the roof and exterior walls of the buildingis not so popular architectural material in Japan, but they are easily replaceable by sections and even can tuck on the old one, therefore the whole body of the building does not have to be renewed if there are any damages. This drives down future environmental damage and maintenance costs of the building.

Thanks to this shapes, materials, colors and volume placement, this building will look as if it has been there all along, minimizing the impact and stress on the environment and neighborhood.


Material Used :
1. Facade cladding: Asphalt shingles,Italian Shingle Line, TEGOLA
2. Flooring: Solid Flooring, 4 types of Wood, EF TRADING
3. Doors: Wooden Door, Lasissa, LIXIL
4. Windows: APW Series, YKKap
5. Roofing: Asphalt shingles, Italian Shingle Line, TEGOLA
6. Interior lighting: Various, DAIKO

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Project Credits
Product Spec Sheet

Wooden DoorLIXIL
Interior lightingDAIKO
Asphalt shingles, Italian Shingle LineTegola Canadese
WindowsYKK AP
Product Spec Sheet
Wooden Door
Lasissa by LIXIL
Interior lighting
Asphalt shingles, Italian Shingle Line
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