Muji’s vertical Tokyo apartment is a three-story prefab unit. It eschews ceilings and walls for an airy space connected by a couple of staircases. The first floor houses utilities and storage, the second floor has a dining room and living room, and the third floor is reserved for bedrooms. The insulated apartment has only one air conditioning unit on the third floor, presumably because heat rises, making the home more energy efficient than houses with several extra appliances.
Still, these projects look quaint (or the opposite?) compared to the Japanese real estate market. As Japanese architect Yasuhiro Yamashita told NPR a few years back, space has been a premium in Tokyo for years, putting pressure on designers to dream up new and sometime peculiar ways of using small plots. Some homes might have curtains instead of proper bathroom walls, for instance, or skylights instead of eye-level windows. Muji’s vertical home isn’t as weird as some other Japanese apartments, but that shouldn’t matter: the unconventional design ethos means that apartments in Japan are viewed as depreciating assets, instead of investments, like they are in the United States. Plus, if you’re going to buy a prefab home, why not trust Muji, purveyor of all things simple, efficient and affordable?
source: wired.com By Margaret Rhodes