Small House has the footprint of an average sized bedroom


February 7, 2012

"Small House" is Unemeri Architects' solution to living functionally on a block of land that is smaller than the average sized bedroom

"Small House" is Unemeri Architects' solution to living functionally on a block of land that is smaller than the average sized bedroom

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This incredible 4 x 4 meter (13 x 13 foot) family home pushes architectural boundaries outside of the box. Situated in the highly dense and populated city of Tokyo, "Small House" is Unemeri Architects' solution to living functionally on a block of land that is smaller than the average-sized bedroom. Spread over four levels, this residential building features two bedrooms, open living and dining room, bathroom and rooftop terrace.

With a height of 9 meters (29.5 feet), the building is a modern day tower, with each floor being joined by a continuous spiral staircase. To conserve the maximum height of each level, 70 mm (2.75 inch) -thick wooden boards serve as the floors and ceilings, seamlessly connecting the entire home.

Space around the building's perimeter allows natural light to stream through the rooms on each level, and also creates the illusion of open space. Secret floor-to-ceiling walls open up the living area to the outside environment, once again creating the impression of space, whilst also offering the circulation of fresh air. The triangular rooftop bathroom gives the impression of an endless bathroom, and offers bathing with the best view of the house.

Overall, Unemeri's Small House is a clever use of space and design that provides small living to the max.

Source: Unemeri Architects

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Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Fold up stairs. No thanks on the high voltage lines 10 feet from my bedroom.


It\'s like a trailer park in the sky.

Jon A.

You\'re talking about 676 sq.ft. That\'s more than adequate for a small family.

My wife and I lived in a 650 sq.ft. guesthouse with 2 dogs for a spell and the only dislike was that it had an electric stove. We\'d both rather cook with gas. Cripes - it even had 2 bedrooms and 2 baths.


Nice idea but where do you store anything, or for that matter do any work?

This sort of house is only any good for people that do very little in their spare time and only want a place to eat and sleep.


I wonder what the top floor feels like during an earthquake. And how easy will it be trying to run up the spiral staircase, pick up the baby and run down again to escape?


If I lived in one of these vertical houses, I\'d like to have a fire-house brass pole for quick descents, but I doubt this house even has room for that.


This is silly, while one vertical house uses less land than one conventional house they wouldn\'t come close to the density we already get with a block of normal flats/apartments and that\'s without the hassle of spiral stairs.


All's well until your neighbors plan a similar vertical constructional excercise. Then you realise that it is not the plot that matters but your "airspace" around that plot. Also I would not be very comfortable in such an ultra-density urban development, just look at what happens in shantytowns when fire breaks out.


Let\'s see it furnished, if it doesn\'t look small then I\'ll be surprised. Also did anyone else catch the fact that the toilet is right in front of a full glass of window and that you had to go through the bathroom to get to the rooftop and go outside and back in to get to the tub. I could see the rooftop parties now. Why not just have the ceiling height at 4 ft high (so you could crawl throughout the entire house) and have the floors zigzag upwards to get about 7 floors into 30 ft (who needs to stand.) Can you smell the sarcasm.

Matt Fletcher

I like it. If I had a home with a modest back yard and I wanted a grannie flat this would be ideal!

Paul Anthony

You know, as we age our joints like to suffer a bit and all those stairs make my right knee ache just thinking about them. Otherwise I believe the concept is a neat one. Storage of things could be interesting and what about tornadoes. It seems this could be a storm magnet.


I like the opinionated bombast provided by kuryus, though it arouses my instinct to argue. But he is mistaken on one point: I would, in fact, want him to visit me and explain how badly my house is designed. Of course it is easier to criticize than to do something right, so I expect him to stick around and fix the mistakes.


Hey Guys, Have you ever been to Tokyo? There are many cultural differences between their and the US or EU. And it doesn\'t need to be restricted to these exact dimensions. Good Grief. I can see a marginally enlarged US version built in high density with access for cars and small yards etc. May be 25 U/ Acre. plenty of room. A 20\'x20\' stack would have side and yards in excess of 10 feet. Issues to access to interior units etc, but a very unique living environment.


The arrangement is designed for a Japanese family and isn\'t suited to an American family for cultural reasons. I also agree the stairs would be a problem for many elderly people. Beyond those issues, the antagonistic comments given by readers are unsupported. To those who say they need more room for their stuff, do you want laws setting a minimum size on houses so you\'ll be guaranteed enough room in every house? In other words, your \'stuff\' is your problem and you shouldn\'t put it on other people. This house will survive an earthquake, Japanese building codes require it. It will also remain standing after 100MPH+ winds. Debris carried by those winds could do severe damage to it tho. A typical American house will suffer about as much since the surface areas are comparable. The real problem with this house is it\'s cost. It\'s simply cheaper to build a small house on one floor and save the money on structural elements. The idea of packing more people onto an acre is different from living in a small house for the benefits they offer. Small houses can be cheaper to build and maintain, tho many are not. Some small houses are delightful to live in, tho not all are. I can point out that not all large houses are a delight to inhabit either. In fact, you don\'t want me to visit your house, regardless of the size. I delight in showing people how badly their houses are designed. People are better consumers of cars than they are of houses. They spend far more on housing than on transportation but are terribly ignorant about what makes a good house.


The problem Japan will have in the future is having enough people to fill the housing they already have. The population,with a very low birth rate along with little immigration, is/will cause their numbers to drop like a rock. Many of their younger people have no interest in slaving their lives for promotion or consumerism.


Yeah...this looks like a mobile-home standing on one end! My primary issue is noise! If the floor of one level is the ceiling of the lower level, that is a problem! Someone walking above will make a lot of noise for people below. Plus, it just looks ugly from the outside!


Interesting but needs a lot more windows. It would be very nice if all of the walls were glass and then used something to control the light. The nicest features as it is currently are the staircase and roof-top space.

Michael Taylor

It doesn\'t have to have spiral stairs, and newer smarter folding furniture and appliances are available, this isn\'t too small either.

Dawar Saify

Am I seeing this correctly, Is the bathroom visible to people with binoculars in the next building?

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