Ditching hard boundaries for a decidedly more fluid plan, two houses in Japan and one in Spain highlight the merit of working with an open structure for residential projects. The homes – with interiors that share exposed timber frameworks – champion a multifunctional use of space, lively social interaction and connection with the outdoors.

Photos: Takumi Ota


Kitamura Naoya Architects & Planners

The work of Gifu-based Kitamura Naoya Architects & Planners, K House is an open-structure residence located in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture. Naoya and his team, who specialize in residential projects, aimed to create a space that would feel both diverse and wide as it is situated in close proximity to other houses. To do so the layout was left loosely divided and wood pillars were built every 1.82 m, effectively mixing the different spaces. This strategy, the architects argue, visually expands the unique house and allows the liveliness of the inhabitants to shine through.


Photos: Irene Ruiz


Sebastián Arquitectos

Bringing a small house built in the second half of last century into modern day, Sebastián Arquitectos has completed a renovated residence sans partitions. The family home, Casa Alonso, is part of an industrial neighbourhood in Zaragoza – it belongs to the Damán complex of housing units, regarded as an urban site of interest. ‘The intervention is based on the initial structure of three bands but spatially reconfigures the continuity between them and their uses,’ explains architect Sergio Sebastián Franco. ‘The first bay contains the access, the kitchen area and the dining area that extends to the outside through a gallery-greenhouse and a stand that seeks to link the interior of the house with the rear garden.’


Photo: Masaki Hamada (kkpo)


Kiyoaki Takeda Architects

Working with, not against, the natural sloped terrain of a plot in Tokyo, Kiyoaki Takeda Architects completed a house that merges nature and building. Five retaining walls were designed to accommodate the variety in height uncovered from small digs in the land. The architecture of the foundation and walls trace the earth, a timber structure that hosts a large atrium and multiple floors and environments. ‘I want to bring back the tactile sensation of living in a “place”,’ says Takeda. ‘It cannot be achieved by just applying soil to the floor – I believe that this sensation can be accomplished only when we, as human beings, are supported and enveloped by the structure of the earth.