Japanese houses are not exactly built to last a lifetime. It’s more like when another generation moves in they just tear down the place and build something completely new that fits their taste. You can nearly watch how a small one-family house is built in mere weeks. With no real fundament or proper isolation. No surprise that Japanese homes tend to have the same temperature inside like on the street and heaters a a luxury which is usually only common in the really cold areas. Don’t forget Japan sees itself as a tropical country.
While room is always scarce on an island architects tend to build their houses up in the air and use the room above. I wasn’t used to finding shop above shop during my first days in Japan and more then often found myself searching on the opposite side or along the street when the store I was searching was just on the 5th floor.
A couple of years ago Muji started to offer pre-fabricated homes that embody the MUJI aesthetic. Makes you wonder how solid these buildings tend out to be. Their new “model” is this Vertical House which is using the exact approach I was just talking about. They use the space above with a very minimal fundament. It’s available in 7 different variations to cater to various types of families. But each one comes with a relatively hefty price tag. Between 20 and 25 million yen. Which converts 200-250k $. We’re talking about a pre-fabricated house here which looks like it could crash any moment when the next stormy night hits Japan.
Nevertheless it’s a nice idea and I would love to hear some more about the quality of these homes.