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8 micro-studios reassembled as Cubist family home in Japan

With most of their micro-studios unrented, a family in Chiba, Japan was ready to demolish their 8-unit apartment building, but architect Kazuyasu Kochi convinced them to rework it into a modern single-family home.

In a country where the lifespan of the mostly wooden homes is only a few decades, Kochi’s rehab proposal was innovative, though his design proved to be one-of-a-kind. Inspired by the Cubist representation of 3-dimensional forms in 2 dimensions, Kochi set out to create a 3-D reality that felt 2-D.

He began by cutting a hole in the middle of the building to connect the 8 tiny rooms. To keep the project affordable, he used large pieces of plywood to shape the new rooms, dividing and connecting the space.

“The act of dividing coexists with the act of uniting here. The result will be dynamic and complex internal space, which provides the experience of being all the spaces without losing the sense of retreating into the one.”

Cutting 2D shapes (triangles and quadrangles) out from the former 3D apartment grid. By ensuring that the 2D shapes didn’t follow the grid, he juxtaposed two different types of depth. With his vivid 4-color scheme, the reassembled home feels like a Cubist patchwork of optical illusions.