Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo

© Matsunami Mitsutomo

Architects: Matsunami Mitsutomo
Location: Katayama-cho, Suita-shi, ,
Date: March 2007
Area: 1,190 square feet (110.55㎡)
Construction area: 69.97㎡
Total floor area: 3,675 square feet (341.38㎡)
Floor area per apartment: 35.7㎡~23.2㎡
Number of apartments: 10 apartments
Photographer: Matsunami Mitsutomo

As the apartment has ‘A room arrangement matching that of the window pattern’, the part that was once unavoidable has now become a large subject of the design. Taking the challenge of a small apartment within those conditions, whilst dealing with a strict budget, the Katayama apartment was born.

© Matsunami Mitsutomo

The Katayama Apartment is a small apartment block built on a site of 110m² and consists of 7 stories, 2 apartments per floor and a total of 10 apartments. On the north side is located the elevator, stairs and the passage with the basis being a flat plan. However, in part there is a high-ceiling maisonette covering 2 floors incorporated like stacked blocks. The layout is quite apparent when viewed from the façade of the south side. The sectional structure is reflected as it is in the outline of the façade. In other words, the lifestyle inside the apartment itself designed the façade, reflecting the intent to let the vitality of life spread out into the landscape of the homogenous rows of houses in Katayama. For the external finish a distinct black and white colour was chosen, in order to show the strong presence of a simple box against the surrounding dull buildings of beige, grey or brick shades.

© Matsunami Mitsutomo

In order to realise this façade design, restrictions due to the evacuation plan had to be overcome. Various patterns that would not impose on the balcony standard for emergency evacuation were considered and resulted in this design.

© Matsunami Mitsutomo

The variation to the cross-sectional design was brought about by the strategy of the business proprietor of ‘How can additional value be achieved’. Since supply of article for lease affair in this area meets the demand, distinction from other properties and elevated value was an absolute necessity. Since legal height restrictions permitted, a high ceiling room was integrated and, bringing together 3 plan types and finishing materials, a combination of 10 patterns was fashioned. By these means, a space offering both diversity and economic efficiency was obtained. It is these elements which makes the characteristic façade and maintains no apartment vacancies to date.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo" 17 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=64651>
  • Ke

    It looks very cool and clean, but I still doubt if it is convenient to use. Most units looks a little bit too narrow.

    Well, it is built in Japan, maybe residents there already get used to this scale.

    • tim

      they´re used to sleep in boxes !!! :D

    • http://www.fgoesarte.blogspot.com FELIPE GOES


  • drew

    amazing concrete work! then again typical japanese design has this quality of craftsmanship when it comes to concrete.

    i agree its a bit narrow, and at the same time its out of scale with its context.

  • magro

    i like the design, but the plans could be a lot better.

  • The Big Black & White Zrbra

    Fabulous design… always nice to see when fashioned from a standard building – strong facade. The invention and especially the distribution of materials is interesting. Will the residents spoil it? Begs the question about where the architect draws the line in speculative housing… here there is less opportunity for the owners to express their individuality on the fabric of the building than in most places – that is without changing the overall conception. Interestingly the interiors are more or less the private realm and very few of us after this post will ever see this project again in its totality. Even if you live there how many neighbour’s apartments will you see… reminds me of Chamberlain Powell & Bon in the UK, at the Golden Lane Estate more than the Barbican, for wit of change – Bravo…

  • Eili

    I do love industrial stairs and the concrete inside – nevertheless im not sure if its comfy & “warm” enough at long sight, as the walls are so narrow.
    to me, concrete walls like this need room to have the chance to sink in, otherwise they are kind of cold and depressing..

    • The Big Black & White Zebra

      I’m not sure concrete needs anything else… it doesn’t need time to be accepted. We should be careful not to judge by our own preconceptions, though you are welcome to do so… I think the space is near generous by Japanese standards and the warmth, in the sense of homely comfort, comes from the space. Why should a living space be warm, and is that acheived only through the obvious tools of material and colour. I made a referance to the Barbican in London – UK. These are luxury apartments and many have a width of only 3.3 meters… a lot of the warmth to these apartments will come from the life that people bring with them…

      • Eili

        these were just my 2 cents.
        kent brockman

      • The Big Black & White Zebra

        … your twp cents are a million dollars – only conversation…

  • xondx

    hmmm…reminds me of Donald Judd!

  • http://twitter.com/arqrosadasilva/status/16429632771 António R. da Silva

    Apartamento em Katayama Mitsutomo Matsunami / | archdaily http://bit.ly/8XVOxC

  • Pingback: Small Apartment Interior in Katayama by Matsunami Mitsutomo Architects - Home Design - Home Design and Architecture

  • http://www.individual.cl/ æon

    And think that the divisions of the facade is something to remark.

  • http://twitter.com/nicholaspatten/status/16453404204 Nicholas Patten

    Apartment in Katayama. http://bit.ly/bzbQMy

  • http://twitter.com/kitory/status/16453502513 Kitory

    RT @nicholaspatten: Apartment in Katayama. http://bit.ly/bzbQMy

  • http://twitter.com/apartmentsrent4/status/16456429233 Apartments Rented

    Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/bD29C1

  • http://twitter.com/webinetrymb/status/16504145043 Michael Baugus

    Another interesting facade by Mitsumoto- Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/czqBrB

  • http://twitter.com/mysorryself/status/16573159334 toni poikeljärvi

    #architecture Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/8XVOxC

  • arnold

    excellent exterior solution. very nice and good Idea. Big Respect.

  • Pingback: Apartment in Katayama Designed By Matsunami Mitsutomo - Architecture Things

  • http://twitter.com/julianevallejo/status/16652008046 julian vallejo

    Reading: "Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/kyrd7a )

  • Juan

    where’s the furniture, please don’t forget the scales ¡¡¡¡

    • The Big Black & White Zebra

      You have to wait till people move in Jaun…
      Usted tiene que esperar hasta que los gente llegan. Jaun…

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  • http://twitter.com/pedrote_/status/16853544365 Pedro Valloz

    Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/8XVOxC

  • http://twitter.com/rehagercek/status/17258380858 REHA GERÇEK

    Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo | ArchDaily: http://bit.ly/bGCs2S

  • http://twitter.com/fsalmada/status/17867820102 Fernando Almada

    Sou facinado pela arquitetura japonesa contemporania: Apartment in Katayama / Matsunami Mitsutomo – http://bit.ly/9qwlwk

  • JitM

    I had suspected way back, so had also asked sometime back –don’t the Japanese start families? But now I already know. I am not groping in the dark anymore. I have seen the light. It’s out in the open. The Japanese don’t start families. Just like white men don’t rap. No no, I am not at all making fun. The Jap are a sensible people. They know that if they start any more families, they will have to start building underground cities and floating islands. After just a minute of glancing at the floor plan I realize that, had each apartment been allowed to be double-height, each one could have easily been cool hipster two bedroom apartments — with attached bathrooms, a sitting/dining space, and a small storeroom to spare — in a cool hipster tower — all within that strict budget.
    But no — you got to prove that youre Japanese. So squeeze in TWO “apartments” on each level, and place the commode right opposite the kitchen counter (to dump in turn that way, to dump out turn 180). and of course, the usual interior — stairs must look like they were made of paper (origami?) or matchsticks, and yes there are only 3-4 colors in the world that your are allowed to use by law — beige, white and black.
    What an ostentatious and pretentious misuse of space and what a dissapointment after that hip exterior.
    What in the-land-of-the-rising-sun is W-R-R-O-N-G with some of Japan’s architects???

  • http://www.brgstudio.com nulla

    Nothing wrong with them, it`s just about money. Money rules the world, am I wrong?
    All in all a good project in my opinion.

  • Valerie Sacks

    An interesting concept but I REALLY feel sorry for their neighbors. Does not exactly fit into the surroundings, hello!