The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani

Completed in 2003, the Laminated House designed by Japanese Architect Hiroaki Ohtani is made with pre-cast concrete strips, stacked unevenly to allow stairs, furniture, and floors to be inserted in the gaps.

The Layer House by Hiroaki Ohtani Technical Information

  • Architects: Hiroaki Ohtani
  • Location: KobeJapan
  • Typology: Residencial Projects /  Private Residences
  • Support structure construction: Solid construction
  • Roof construction: Flat roof
  • Support structure material: masonry, reinforced concrete, concrete block, precast concrete component
  • Facade material: glass, insulation glazing
  • Roof material: concrete, precast concrete component
  • Project Year: 2003
The Layer House by Hiroaki Ohtani Photographs

The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani

The Layer House description

This tiny plot of just 33 sqm offered a chance for a young couple to build a house in an expensive neighborhood in downtown Kobe. But it meant a radical change of lifestyle. Storage space and separate, closed-off rooms had to be sacrificed. Behind the largely glazed front, some privacy is gained through offsetting the levels inside. Slats built into the facade and a large tree outside also screen the interior.

The house is very innovative in its use of a small footprint. The space is maximized by using a few materials and concealing details. The double-flight staircase, at first sight seemingly over-sized, actually fulfills the same purpose, linking all levels into a single space continuum, and enabling diverse visual connections between the various areas. The walls consist of a slat system, allow various objects to “plug in” – stairs, cabinets, desk, etc.  The slats and skylight also create some interesting natural lighting conditions. The wooden steps, also used as seats, take up the theme of the dominant concrete slats.

The house is tight, claustrophobic, yet entirely open. There are no internal doors, apart from the sliding doors to the toilet. The front of the house is a large glass panel to let more light into the house and the rear wall has a smaller window striped by the precast concrete. Climbing up you reach the living room and the kitchen with a steep set of stairs taking you to the roof deck.

The Layer House, Hiroaki Ohtani Plans

The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani The Layer House / Hiroaki Ohtani