The Very Small Home

The Very Small Home

Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Limited Space

Book - 2012
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First edition published in Japan in 2005 by Kodansha International. The Very Small Home is an inspiring new book that surveys the creative design innovations of small houses in Japan. Eighteen recently built and unusual houses, from ultramodern to Japanese rustic, are presented in depth. Particular emphasis is given to what the author calls the big idea' for each house-the thing that does the most to make the home feel more spacious than it actually is. Big ideas include ingenious sources of natural light, well thought-out loft spaces, snug but functional'
Publisher: New York : Kodansha USA, 2012.
Edition: 1st US ed.
ISBN: 9781568364346
Branch Call Number: 728.3709 Brown
Characteristics: 111 pages :,illustrations (some color) ;,32 cm
Additional Contributors: Kuma, Kengo 1954-


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ksoles May 07, 2015

"A house in Japan has to be small in order to be considered well designed," asserts architecture professor Azby Brown. Indeed, building on tiny, awkward sites has become a Japanese speciality; with his book "The Very Small Home," Brown hopes to share this specialty with Western readers and enlighten them on how to live contentedly in tight quarters.

Certainly, the book proves that both engineering-wise and spatially, the Japanese push the envelope in residential design. It first highlights 18 awe-inspiring projects running from traditional to futuristic and housing childless young couples, medium sized families and mature singles. Each project has a "Big Idea," something that succeeds in making less look like more, such as a bold atrium that covers nearly the whole front of the Sumrie-Aoi.

"The details make [a well-designed small house] truly inhabitable," says Brown and, in the second part of his book, he provides a summary of such details. He suggests we need a new way of thinking about small homes, a type of New Japan revolution focusing on light and efficient use of space. For a house to gain seemingly unattainable space, ingenious storage, space-saving kitchens, partitions and more all have a role.

Given the financial restraints faced by first-time buyers all over the developed world, Brown provides assurance that, given some serious thought, small really can mean perfectly formed.

Nov 04, 2011

An interesting compendium of high-end housing that is well illustrated with photographs and exploded sketch floor plans. These "Japanese ideas for living well" with 1 or 2 bedrooms contrast with Canadian concepts. Contrary to this book's title, although small in footprint, many of the multi-storey homes in this book are substantial in total floor area. It is noteworthy that the Japanese building code does not require handrails or many electrical outlets in these multi-storey homes. The book concludes with a useful chapter on design details for the compact home. In many instances, the architects have skillfully admitted light into interior rooms in ingenious ways.


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