House in Shinkawa, a Japanese dwelling as a greenhouse

casa-house-shinkawa-arquitectura-more-with-less-06House in Shinkawa is one of the best examples of how to get more with less and obtain a great architectonical result with little resources. Located in the village of Sapporo in Japan and created by Yoshichika Takagi + associatesthis dwelling of just 53sqm is stablished as an energy efficient and totally functional living space adapted to the tenants.


The modular plan of house in Shinkawa is defined by an exposed wooden structure that is extended vertically, towards the gable roof, generating a second level. Besides being the loadbearing system of the dwelling, this structure also organises the spatial programme in an effective way. Thus, the ground floor corresponds to the common spaces of the house, while private rooms are located in the upper floor, connected by a simple wooden staircase. In this attic area, the bedrooms appear like hidden cubicles with a series of window-like openings that offer cross views over the indoor spaces of the dwelling.




However, the true project strategy lies on the creation of a semi-exterior space that follows in form and function a greenhouse design. This terrace –or sun room- extends the indoor main room outwards, thus increasing the dwelling usable space in 26sqm.

House in Shinkawa es una vivienda japonesa que sigue en forma y función el diseño de un invernadero

This extension is created by the same wooden structure we find indoors and closed up by translucent polycarbonate boards; a material that protects from rain and wind while allows the entrance of sunlight. As a result, the terrace is an active part of the living room from spring to autumn, while during winter, it acts as a greenhouse that helps to keep off cold and heat the house in a passive and natural way.


The interior of the house presents a sober and minimalist design, with a very restricted chromatic and material palette, where wooden floorings and walls generate a warm and cozy atmosphere. Visual continuity makes the small dwelling looks airy, while spatial discontinuity contributes to make the indoor space thermally compact. The result is an economic construction of low maintenance, low energy cost and highly functional.



Photos by Yuta Oseto