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Switch flat Tokyo: mobile walls transform home into office

To avoid paying Tokyo rents for office space, architect Yuko Shibata created moving walls that allow her to switch between home and office. At the equivalent cost of 3 months of office rental, or about $7000, Shibata created a morphing home/office she calls “Switch”.

Inspired by fusuma, the sliding paper screens used to divide rooms in traditional Japanese homes, Shibata created sliding bookshelves to divide and transform the rooms. One partition wall, weighing 750 kilograms (1450 pounds), moves easily on rollers switching the main space from dining room into a meeting room plus separate library.

To open up her study and bedroom, she cut a hole in the wall and installed another mobile bookshelf wall that pivots out to create a two-room workspace/library plus a partitioned bedroom.

By leaving the structural walls and plumbing intact, the project was very affordable while extending the functional space.