Minimalist Japanese Architect Redefines the Meaning of Living Your Style

If you could design your own home around the way you live, how would it look? Fortunate enough to be well practised in the art of creating residential buildings, Japanese architect Katsutoshi Sasaki has designed this minimalist dwelling for his family home in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. T Noie, roughly translating to House of T, is a tall, narrow construction comprised mainly of wood.


“Simultaneously feeling the close proximity the small width gives and the sense of sharing the same space even when the dwellers actually are in separate rooms.”
– Katsutoshi Sasaki


Site Area: 184.00m²
Built Area: 54.60m²
Total Floor Area: 102.24m²
Type of Construction: Wooden
Exterior Materials: Red cedar t=18mm + two layers of wood protection paint
Interior Materials: Falcata plywood t=5.5mm

Though not his first minimalist wooden design, with T Noie Katsutoshi was able to make the structure highly customised. A shared office is the first layer to receive the natural light which pours in from T Noie’s roof. Spiral stairs take you past other rooms – bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen – in which one of the design’s chief characteristics is explore: the architecture maximises its use of space by doubling itself up as furniture.


Katsutoshi invited us and our questions in for a private tour.

THE PLUS: What would you say is the basis of your design philosophy?
Katsutoshi Sasaki:
It is based on freedom and ambivalence.

TP: The entire construction is wood, yet there’s a contrast between the exterior and interior wood colour. Why did you go for dark painted wood outside?
I want to return to a type of architecture reminiscent of lush landscape exterior for the citizen on the street to enjoy.


TP: Your designs vary a great deal in size and shape. What was it like working with a tall and narrow type of design?
I am looking for new scale to connect human and nature. I’ve found that the narrow dimension is the minimum possible scale for life activities.

TP: What’s the neighbourhood like?
I have a good relationship with it.


TP: The design is very minimalistic in feel, and often the building offers its natural design in place of furniture. What do you think you’re expressing as the requirements of human dwelling in the 21st century by inhabiting this space?
Humans are very busy. The house needs to offer both a place to relax and sometime discovery of change the scene in interior and exterior by nature.

TP: What do you enjoy most about residential projects?
I enjoy the balance of environment, scale and human activities.

TP: Are you happy with your house?
Of course! My family loves it.

section detail
Window detai