As our urban skylines get more and more crowded, it’s becoming an increasingly hard architectural challenge to make use of the space that’s left.
Rather than eating into our much-needed green areas to build in new locations, or knocking down the old to raise new developments, there may be another answer — narrow housing.
Located on a suburban site, surrounded by low buildings and wide roads in Japan, FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects recently presented a home aptly named ‘Slender House’.
The home was built on a 7.5 metre by 17-metre site for a young family that needed a series of flexible areas and, from the moment you walk through the front door, space doesn’t appear to be an issue.
Two entrances sit on either side of the concrete ground floor, opening onto a long hallway that leads to the children's bedroom and a bathroom at the back of the house. Stairs lead to the upper level where a generous living space faces a large window, filling the room with an abundance of light.
A ‘cosy’ feel is achieved with the dark wood and white wall finishes. While at ground level, a horizontal datum of exposed concrete creates a sense of continuity with the home's exterior.
This is not an original idea, however, with narrow houses becoming increasingly popular all around the world due to their ingenious designs allowing for comfortable living without compromises.
The Shaft House in Toronto, Canada was built in 2010, offering its occupants bright and airy interior spaces on a 20ft wide lot. What also makes the house stand out is its simplistic and modern design with clean, straight lines and angles that contrast with the neighbouring homes.
Back in Japan, there’s a house built on a site measuring only 36.95 square-metres. Based in Nada, the narrow development still offers bright and open spaces. Skylights are perhaps key to this design, letting plenty of natural light in via the staircase, allowing it to reach the bottom of the house.
This idea has been incorporated in Australia as well. Located in Melbourne’s rapidly growing inner-urban precinct of Collingwood, this development is nestled into a narrow and small 140 square-metre site.
By implementing the principles of passive design, the home not only relies less on the use of heating and cooling ducts, but also creates an extension of the internal space, maximising the indoor rooms.
In some cases, a narrow house may suit the owners at first, but it could get to a point where the owners are screaming for more space. Well, this bungalow, also in Australia, was originally a 20ft wide structure before the owners went to Troppo Architects for help. The site was extended by 3ft, offering enough room for a guest bathroom and laundry room.
Perhaps this will be the house of the future as people clamour for cheaper alternatives to live close to the CBD?
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