An arched tunnel separates these two houses designed by Japanese firm Naf Architect & Design to host three generations of one family near Tokyo. The house on the left is a one-story building (A) for a woman living alone, and on the right is a two-story building (B) for a couple + child household.
The building A and B are built where the main residence was dismantled, and the slope in between was extended from Japanese garden to make a path between the south and north sides of the premises. As cars are the principal means of transportation, the slope in between building A and B serves as a driveway for daily convenience.
Former national route has heavy traffic, thus building A and B do not have windows on the north. Windows facing the neighbors on the east and west sides are small and minimized, whereas the windows facing the garden are large. Both building A and B have courtyard and skylight with slanted ceiling and curved walls to give varied interior scenes.
The courtyard has the largest daylight windows to provide light through transom windows and slanted ceiling. Daylight from skylight is reflected on ceramic tiles on the curved walls to give different effects by the time and weather; when sunny, it is sharp, when cloudy, it is soft, and in the morning and evening, pale violet blue light spreads inside.
The edges of curved exterior walls stretching from both sides of the slope are slightly apart, not making building A and B a two-family home from legal perspective. However, these buildings, while they are independent, stand face to face and side by side to share everyday life and space.
all images © TOSHIYUKI YANO