Shinsaibashi district in Osaka City has a very particular feel to it. It is gritty and has a stronger beat and vibe than any other urban areas in Japan. Shinsaibashi is more similar to Lower Manhattan before the Giuliani administration than the crowded spots in Tokyo (located only 350 miles away). It may not be an ideal reference for those who have never been there, but Shinsaibashi immediately reminds me of “Black Rain,” the 1989 Ridley Scott movie, in which NYPD Detective played by Michael Douglas and his partner played by Andy Garcia end up in this most vibrant part of Osaka to hunt down their suspect.

• This house designed by Osaka based architect Koki Ogata is in the heart of Shinsaibashi district.

• The house is right across the street from a police precinct.

• The client is a lady in her eighties (!) who lives by herself.

• Built on a tiny and narrow piece of land (420 SF), the architect focused on two things – usability and achieving spaciousness.

After having heard that the owner of this house is very well and happy, I think Ogata’s design deserves a bit of credit.

Photos © Yoshiharu Matsumura
Who: Koki Ogata  
What: Single family residence (1 adult)  
Where: Shinsaibashi, Osaka  
When: 2002 (completion)  
How: Two stories, steel frame construction  
Site Area: 419 square feet (38.94m²)  
Construction Area: 334 square feet ( 31.00m²)  
Total Floor Area: 698 square feet (64.80m²)