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Kyosho-Jutaku (tiny houses)

Angelo Gangi

Kyosho-Jutaku (tiny houses).

Rel. Lorena Alessio. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile, 2017



In Tokyo it has become difficult to find a house that is a century old. Most of Tokyo was reduced to smouldering ruins, once during the earthquake in 1923, and once during the World War II.

Differently with the centenary constructions it is always easier to find narrow buildings, that in my opinion are one of the most charming characteristics of the city.

Unaware of this, the topic of my thesis was focused in the beginning on the residential building, imagining to having to plan a traditional Japanese house.

Walking through the city and exploring it, these narrow and tiny buildings become a big object of curiosity for me.

Why are these buildings so common in Japan?

Which are the main reasons?

And, have they always been present in the Tokyo urban territory?

From these questions and with the first idea for my thesis, I started to analyse this kind of tiny buildings as residential houses.

Their Japanese name is Kyosho - Jutaku , the meaning: Tiny Houses.

Starting from the analysis of the birth and the current presence of tiny houses in Tokyo, and after studying the heavy urban problems and the city development, the idea of my thesis is a project that could solve these critical issues, planning comfortable spaces for the local residents and for the people that live around there.

This thesis is structured as follows:

The first chapter analyses the presence of narrow spaces in the past, proving that they have always been part of the Japanese culture even if in a different way.

The second chapter shows the reasons of the birth of the Kyosho- Jutaku and their evolution till today . Their presence, but above all their continuous expansion, have obviously different motivations compared to the reasons of their birth.

The third chapter is structured in two parts. The first one analyses and explains the development of the city starting from the causes that have changed the urban structure and finishing with the current districts problems. The second part of this chapter is focused to study the main Kyosho-Jutaku examples, to understand how this type of house works and which are its main features. Furthermore this part allows to understand the main Japanese project rules that are completely different from the Italian ones.

The final chapter focuses on analysing the current conditions of the project site, studying the urban space, the surroundings of the project area and the current problems. The conclusion of this study is a design able to solve the critical issues in order to increase the quality of the block.

The proposal is supported by schemes, technical plans, technical sections and renders.

All data collection, analysis and design process were developed within the Watanabe’s Lab at Hosei University in Tokyo, under the supervision of Professors Makoto Shin Watanabe, in Japan, and Lorena Alessio, in Italy.

Relators: Lorena Alessio
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AH Buildings and equipment for the home
A Architettura > AO Design
G Geografia, Antropologia e Luoghi geografici > GD Estero
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/6352



- Individual neighborhoods.

- Backstreet society.


- The meaning of Kyosho - Jutaku.

- What is a tiny house?

The birth:

- Temporary Building Restriction Rules.

Their evolution:

- Inheritance Tax.

- Cycle of house life.

- House Generations.


- Fire resistance buildings:

- Urban Village. Horizontal relationship.

Commersidence. Current district problems:

- Flammable houses.

- Isolated houses.

- Empty houses.

- Available building land problems.

New architecture and the city:


- Tower House.

- Azuma House.

- R-Torso.

- Red Apartment Building.

- Tower Machiya.

- Apartment with a small Restaurant.

- Moriyama House.


Identification of the area:

- Meguro.

- Nishi - Koyama.

- General analysis.

Project area:

- Block analysis.

- Project area analysis.


- First approach.

- Land subdivision.

- Shape development.

- Community.

- Different sizes.

- Versatile spaces.


- Plans.

- Sections.

- Side views.

- Steel Plate Structure.

- Project spaces.

- Renders.






- Barthes R., translated by Howard R., The Empire of Signs, New York, Hill & Wang Pub, 1989

- Hidenobu J., translated by Nishimura K., Tokyo: A spatial Anthropology, Tokyo, University of California Press, 1995

- Kaijiama M„ Kuroda J., Tsukamoto Y., Made in Tokyo, Japan, Koichi Kajima, 2010

- Kitayama K., Tsukamoto Y., Nishizawa R., Tokyo Metabolizing, Japan, TOTO LTD., 2010

- Kuroda J., Pet Architecture, Tokyo, World Photo Press, 2002

- Kuma K., Maki F., Manuba Chiba, Tokyo, Equal Books, 2014

- Ueda A., The inner Harmony of the Japanese House, Tokyo and New York, Kodansha International, 1990

- Sakai M., The study of the narrow houses from the end of the war to the present age, Thesis in Hosei University School of Design Engineering , Architectural course - Watanabe Laboratory, 2013

- Sereno H. L., Tokyo Waterfront. An Urban Intervention in the Kita- Shinagawa Waters Edge, Thesis in Polytechnique of Turin, 2016


- http://www.realtytoday.com/articles/72093/20160112/kyosho- jutaku-why-micro-homes-largely-popular-japan.htm

- https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/05/10-japanese-kyosho-jutaku- micro-homes-that-redefme-living-small/

- http://www.npr.org/templates/story/

- https://hyperallergic.com/why-japans-futuristic-micro-homes-are- so-popular/

- https://www.okada-archi.com/

- https://www.designboom.com/architecture/naka-architects-studio- apartment-with-a-small-restaurant-tokyo-10-09-2015/

- https://www.dezeen.com/2014/12/23/wiel-arets-a-house-tokyo- glass-coated-exterior-shrink-wrapped/

- https://www.dezeen.eom/2015/l 1/10/atelier-tekuto-r-torso-c- concrete-house-skylights-concrete-shirasu-volcanic-ash-tokyo- japan/

- http://www.mtka.jp/post/127783052684/red-house

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