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Cube hut becomes tiny house inside small Kyoto office building

When Tada Masaharu and Shojiro Endo began renting a crumbling machiya (a traditional townhouse typical of Kyoto, Japan), they wanted to preserve the wooden structure for their architecture and design practices while carving out a living space for Endo that wouldn’t be obvious to clients. Their solution: they built a 7-square-meter cube hut within the original structure.

Housing Endo’s bed, closet and small kitchen, the cube closes up completely- it’s one wooden window swings shut- so the structure easily passes unnoticed by visitors and clients.

Outside the indoor cabin, the space is all office. There’s a multi-functional reception area which can be converted to extra work space thanks to a table on rollers. Behind the cube, is the main office area with custom, DIY furniture: shelving inspired by Japanese cards, tables with built-in hard drive storage and a concrete sink.

At the back of the office, the duo built sliding shoji-style doors- created without handles so as to appear an all-white wall. When opened, they reveal a backyard garden and the home’s original bathroom.

Masaharu and Endo (of TD Atelier and endo shojiro design) explain that they would have enjoyed restoring the machiya to its original condition, but this would have required a bigger budget (beyond what they could afford as renters) and they also see value in this mix of old and new.

They exposed more of the traditional structure by removing the ceiling to reveal original wooden beams and ceiling. This area has now become a playground for Niko, Endo’s cat, whose home is on top of the cube.