TN House / Miyahara Architect Office

© Teruo Miyahara

Architect: Teruo Miyahara / Miyahara Architect Office
Location: Kanagawa,
Structural Engineer: Akira Ouchi / S.FORM
Constructor: Junji Koike / Three Ef
Project area: 159.78 sqm
Project Year: 2004-2005
Construction Year: 2005–2006
Photographs: Teruo Miyahara

TN House is a residence that stands along the Tama River in western Tokyo. It was designed for two sisters and their respective families. Though the sisters may be close, they do have separate families and separate lives, and so living together is another matter. When designing this house, it was necessary to rethink the relationship of families and houses in an urban environment.

first floor plan
© Teruo Miyahara

The road in front of the site is extremely busy with a regular flow of trucks and other vehicles, and there are no satisfactory pedestrian pavements. Therefore, the site has its drawbacks including the tremor and exhaust emissions from the traffic. Even so, the families had chosen this place to build a house because it offers a marvelous view of Tama River. Meanwhile, the many factories and warehouses in the neighborhood are also an integral part of the local identity. For this reason, the exterior walls of House TN are made of material which is mainly used for factories and warehouses, and zinc-coated corrugated and perforated sheets which are usually used for civil engineering are used for the front of the building facing the road. These materials give off a slightly cold and metallic impression under the sun, but at night, the corrugated and perforated sheets disappear and the warmth of the rooms seeps out into the night air. The house may almost look like a factory by day but is a warm residence by night.

© Teruo Miyahara

The three-story building is designed to accommodate two families, on the left and right, with two staircases. The units both have their private rooms on the first and second floors and the living rooms on the third floor, but the interior of each house is designed in totally different tastes according to each family. The two units are called “the black house” and “the white house” from the color of their stairways. The living rooms on the third floor have folding doors that can be opened up so that the two families can use it as one large room to enhance lively communication. Meanwhile, the roof has what looks like a glass box called the Den Room, which is only large enough for one member of either family to enter. Here, it is possible to watch the horizon, meditate, and maybe learn something by gazing up at the stars, for it is only natural that people sometimes need some space to themselves.

Cite: "TN House / Miyahara Architect Office" 03 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • DougO

    I’m going to get skewered but I have to say…. this is awful. As an interior designer it makes me cry.

  • JustinM

    it seems as though a lot of space has been wasted. maybe the architect tried too hard.

  • The Big Black & White Zebra

    I think the real difference here is how two large (… for Japanese families) come together and share a house – both the private and shared spaces… very interesting

  • arnold

    very strange house:
    - then I’m looking at exterior (and interior too), it looks like office building. yes, it’s modern japan minimalizm, but.. conceptual white (or black or concrete) color is too much boring, when it using everythere and everytime. BORING. white color is good color, but to use it by purpose/destination is difficult; this house is example, when it’s living house, but looks like office or studio.
    - and a bit strange (in some case) house planing. what I notice at first, it was very thin wall between these two flats (the noise);
    - the living area in III floor; the idea is good, but when one family will have their own quests, the wooden collapsible partition is not good decision.

    anyway this house is for two family and this house is adapted for their living style.

    BUT… this house looks like hostel. yes, when relations between these two families are good – everything is ok; but if relations will become worse? what will be then?