With all due respect to Isamu Noguchi, as far as the idea of ‘akari (light)’ is concerned, I think a young architect named Ken Shimabara has outdone the renowned artist of the 20th century.

My reasons for saying this are simple. The concept of “Andon House” designed by Shimabara’s Atelier a point design here is more progressive for its time, and the design is more dynamic.

The name “andon” for this architecture comes from a paper-covered lamp stand used in the old days. Andon House is a set of row houses developed as weekend getaway for surfers who are in their late 20s to early 30s with regular jobs (not beach bums, I mean).

There are a number of interesting things to mention about this architecture, but I will limit them to a few:
– The idea of making the architecture itself as a set of light boxes came about because of a short budget to install street lights on this isolated site.
– By placing ‘washi’ (Japanese paper) behind the glass, a single light bulb can make the whole ‘box’ glow in the dark.
– A high ceiling of the entrance allows even longboards to fit inside easily.
– The bathroom is accessible from outside wearing wetsuits.
– While the English name of the architecture describes the appearance, its Japanese counterpart Naminori Nagaya literary translates to “surfers’ row houses.” The Japanese name is brilliant (if you can relate to ‘Kanji’).



The combination of glass and Japanese paper creates warm and soft glows.



An entrance reminiscent of a dry garden



The andon part of each row house is a room with a ceiling height of 22 feet. Floor heating is used.



The second floor is illuminated by the light from the andon room.


It’s for surfers, no frills here.


A spacious rooftop deck has an open view and privacy.



The architecture model

all images: © Atelier a point design, all rights reserved