Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

© Courtesy of

Architects: Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates
Location: Takarazuka, Hyogo, Japan
Site Area: 116.70 sqm
Built Area: 50.36 sqm
Total Floor Area: 114.70 sqm
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Courtesy of Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

“heta-ti” (hull land) – the land that is left over into pieces

A residence stands on an extremely small triangular site, “heta-ti”. Moreover, the surrounding area is crowded. Dividing an irregular urban block into rectangular lots one by one from the parts adjacent to the road, finally a secluded lot that is hard to use is left over, which is what is called “anko”(it means Japanese sweets wrapped with rice cake), and that is exactly this site. Further, a maximum volume allowed by the code results in triangular one. A building had to be set in this triangular volume. However we work out, we are bound to the shape of the site, but our idea was to try to search possibility that can’t conceive without “heta-ti”.

site plan
© Courtesy of Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

“sumi-kiri” (corner trimming)

First of all, according to the simple rule of “sumi-kiri”, three corners including two acute angles, which are hard to use as indoor space, are trimmed off the triangular maximum volume. Next, we tried to correspond to the function that is necessary for residential space by working out the cutting angle, such as inclining outward, inward or not parallel. For example, concerning “sumi-kiri” on the south side, the exterior walls incline outward according to the need of building eaves over the terrace as a drying area, and that on the west, they incline inward and also don’t make parallel in order to make side wall blocking the view from the street. In a similar way, concerning on the east side, we worked out the cutting angle on basis of inside demands. Further, concerning an observation platform that the clients requested for strongly, we were able to make this space by cutting off the top of the roof plane controlled by legal restrictions. The exterior wonderful form is created by a simple rule “sumi-kiri”, and because of optical illusion, the exterior wall appears to incline.

© Courtesy of Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

“syakkei” – comes from Japanese gardening “borrowing” mountains, etc. for a background

This site is surrounded by rectangular lots. In each adjacent site’s corner, unused spaces are left over although they are small. By adding the triangular exterior space to spaces with the site boundary in between, collected open spaces to some extent are created. That is, the void always exists outside openings. The rectangular neighboring houses don’t take trouble to make openings toward each site’s corner. Consequently, the clients can have the open space to themselves. Its “shakkei” looks like alchemy and it is the power that a triangular “heta-ti” has potentially and inevitably.

© Courtesy of Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates


A reinforced basement of existing residence was fit in old retained wall facing to the adjacent site on the north side that is one-story lower. Though we were judged that it is impossible to reuse it from a structural point of view, we were not able to pull it down within budget. Moreover, in a small site, we must make spaces for three generations family of six, so by pouring into existing reinforced basement as a substitute of mold, we decided to make a basement one size smaller than existing. We may say that this is the renovation in a broad sense. Consequently, within substantially three-story height, seven floor in all – including under floor storage (will be used as private room for husband in the future), a bunk bed and an observation platform – are layered. We feel like this residence has used up this site not only horizontally but also vertically.


There is luck in the leftovers. 0r perhaps, it may be more than. Collecting strained lees of wine and distilling, fermenting it and spending time and effort, at last very delicious drink is made; this is because why we named this residence “grappa”.

Cite: "Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates" 13 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Architekt R V Scholz

    #architekt Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates: © Courtesy of Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associ… #in

  • Miri Hellen Lanza

    RT @ArchitecPassion: Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates: © Courtesy of Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates Architects: Kat..


    Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

  • arnold

    nice and elegant sculptural shape house. especialy I like the sculptural shapes of house.

    this is a realy, very small house in nonstandard site and architects designed the shapes of house interesting and logical. so exterior is GOOD, artistic :-).

    the interior…well, it’s realy small house, so everything here desingned by individual client needs. one thing, that supprised me, was the childrens “beds”. I’ve never saw such designed beds. original, but and very strange. and do they realy practical?

    and one remark: if in this house live little children,- balcony’s railings You must do much safer.

  • Matt Cole

    Cool use of small, irregular site>RT @archdaily Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

  • Graham Cowen

    Like this … slick interior! RT @archdaily Grappa / Katsuhiro Miyamoto & Associates

  • KSO “heta-ti” (hull land) – the land that is left over into pieces

  • up_today_arch

    It is exectly what I like! Looks like the paper model, very clear and easy idea! Very clouse to my view on architecture.

  • Doug

    Lovely views…

  • nu

    i hate that the focus of the first photo is on the big palm tree…

  • Nicholas Patten

    Nicely Designed: Grappa.

  • .

    宮本佳明 宝塚の住宅「grappa」 みんな考えていることは同じですね。