In Japan’s densely populated cities, where newly built homes are compact, avant-garde and stamped with a limited expiration date, it takes a lot to stand out from the scrunched-together pack.

Spiritually more akin to an urban campsite or a habitable interior courtyard than a proper “house,” the roughly 400-square-foot Yokohama residence of noted architect and professor Takeshi Hosaka and his wife, Megumi, manages to do so.

Faircompanies, a website that’s provided us with numerous intimate glimpses inside of homes sporting limited square footage, must have really had to squeeze in for a tour of the ultra-thin Hosaka homestead, a structure that’s only 10-feet wide.

Despite the petite footprint of the home, which is quite unassuming from the street given that it resembles a windowless white box, there’s plenty to admire inside once you ascend the structure’s narrow interior staircase. Or, well, once inside and outside.

You see, in order to provide a connection with nature, even in the middle of the city, the home’s main living area largely lacks a ceiling, rending it both “inside and at the same time, outside.”

Explains Hosaka (via translator): “When making it, I intended to leave it open to the elements so that it brings in both the natural sunlight, the rain and the wind.”

To be clear, sections of the two-story home, namely a sitting room/library/landing and kitchen that appears to be roughly the size of an airplane galley, are sheltered from above and can be closed off from the arboreal, open-air core of the home via sliding glass partitions. Given the abundance of natural light that pours into the main living space through the curved opening above, this area completely lacks artificial lighting. At night, moonlight helps to illuminate the interior of the home, although Hosaka has placed candles and lanterns throughout to prevent unnecessary bumping around in the dark.

Tucked away on the ground level of the home are a tiny commode, shower and bedroom — a space that’s not large enough to accommodate a proper bed.

While at first disorienting, the overall effect is soothing, transcendent — a little (emphasis on little) slice of paradise in the middle of Japan’s second largest city. And with a home that’s open to the elements comes urban wildlife. Birds aren't the only critters to have taken up residence within the structure's indoor/outdoor garden. So have egg-laying grasshoppers that live in the large fruit tree protruding from the center of the home. Apparently, the space is also home to a pet rabbit, but there's no sign of him in faircompanies' video tour. Maybe he's camera shy.

Hosaka's wife likens her home, dubbed “Love House," to a treasure box. And judging from the fact that she’s managed to make room in the packed kitchen for souvenir mugs and antique platters, there’s still very much a place in this micro-minimalist dwelling for life's little trinkets and treasures.

Via [faircompanies]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Dainty home makes room for urban wildlife
Tour a 400-square-foot Yokohama abode that's not without creature comforts (or creatures).