Due to Tokyo’s high land prices, plot sizes become reduced as a matter of necessity. What’s more, buildings often become even smaller in order to satisfy strict building regulations. As a result, architects working on residential projects in the Japanese capital are universally concerned with how to maximize the physical area of these buildings within a limited space, as well as how to produce a feeling of openness and breadth. Many clients are also concerned with how to provide adequate storage within a small space, and how to create a comfortable environment.

Architecture : Kiyotoshi Mori & Natsuko Kawamura / MDS
Photography : Masayoshi Ishii

Location : Kokubunji-City, Tokyo
Date of Completion : 2009
Principal Use : Residence & Atelier
Structure : Wood
Site Area : 82.79m2
Total Floor Area : 65.30m2 (32.19m2/1F, 33.10m2/2F)
Structural Engineer : Kenji Nawa / Nawakenj-m

Material Information

Exterior Finish : Wet wall
Roof : Galvanized color steel sheet standing-seam roofing
Floor : White oak flooring
Wall : Acrylic emulsion paint + plaster board

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For this residence, we focused on two components within the existing floor plan of this two-storey wooden structure that tend to be neglected – the roof space above the ceiling, and the portion underneath the floor. The first step was to divide the roof and floor on each level into an upper and lower portion. By freely carving out a part of each of these upper and lower portions, several spaces were created – a dining area, a place for relaxing, and a workspace. In contrast, the gouged-out holes helped to frame free, unobstructed lines of sight that created gentle links between the different spaces. The in-between gaps that belonged to neither of these spaces could then be used for storage purposes, in addition to indirectly helping to augment the floor area of the living space.

Tamaranzaka House By MDS - Sheet5The lower portion of the floor on the ground storey was lowered down onto the base support, while storage space was built into the gap between this lower portion and the upper one, allowing us to create a rational layout that did not require us to make any improvements to the foundations.

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Although small, the wooden framework projects a strong sense of volume and texture while also imparting a certain delicacy to the entire space. For our future projects, we hope to be able to create buildings that take advantage of the distinctive characteristics of the materials involved, creating unique, site-specific architecture, regardless of its framework or structure.


MDS was founded by Kiyotoshi Mori and Natsuko Kawamura in 2002.

Kiyotoshi Mori acquires a bachelor and a master of the architectural engineering at Tokyo university of Science.

After working at the design division of Taisei Corporation, he became the joint presider of MDS in 2003.

He is also a lecturer at Tokyo university of Science and Nihon University.

Natsuko Kawamura acquires a bachelor of the architectural engineering at Kyoto Institute of Technology.

After working at the design division of Taisei Corporation, she established MDS in 2002.

She is also a lecturer at Toyo University.

Company name : MDS Co.Ltd
Add : #907, 5-4-35, Minamiaoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062 Japan
Phone : + 81-3-5468-0825
Fax  : + 81-3-5468-0826
E-mail : info@mds-arch.com
URL : http://www.mds-arch.com


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