Japanese homes seek to optimize space – includes ninja approach

Here is a look at how some Japanese homes maximize their limited space:

Take for example, Tatsumi Terado and his wife Hanae who lives in a house with no interior walls, hardly any barriers and some ladders to get around. The young couple call their house the Ninja — because they need to be as nimble as one to go from one room to another…

Radical design is featuring more and more in Japan’s residential landscape and is a hit among the country’s young generation. It is as if the compact spaces the Japanese have to live in are pushing the architects, and their clients, to think out of the box and let their whimsical ideas take off…

“Houses depreciate in value over 15 years after being built,” says Tokyo-based architect Alastair Townsend, “and on average they are demolished after 25 or 30 years, so the owner of a house doesn’t need to consider what a future buyer might want.

“It gives them a lot of creative license to design a home that’s an expression of their own eccentricities or lifestyle.”

In addition to the limited amount of space, another factor appears important: houses aren’t expected to last that long. While McMansions are often criticized for a lack of quality construction and design, few people would suggest most would be demolished 25-30 years later. Think of some of the small and relatively bland houses built after World War II in places like Levittown that are still standing and have been tweaked quite a bit. Put these two combinations together, less space and less need to last long, and home designs could be more unique and customized.

It is hard to imagine circumstances under which Americans would have such short-lived homes. We have expectations that homes should last, should be places where memories can be made and sustained over decades. Builders construct edifices and neighborhoods that are meant to at least look permanent – thus the aping of older architectural traditions. Plus, there might be environmental concerns: you would have to design a house differently from the beginning for it to be disposed of not much later.

0 thoughts on “Japanese homes seek to optimize space – includes ninja approach

  1. Pingback: The important new styles in American homes in the last few decades: shed, split-level, millennium mansions | Legally Sociable

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