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Multi-functional Transforming Drawer House in Tokyo

This is the drawer house created by Japanese architects Nendo in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s a multi-functional residential home that transforms according to what you’re doing whether it’s cooking, sleeping, entertaining, dining, bathing, or studying.

Everything pulls out of one wall so that just like a drawer, you can pull out and put away whatever you need. It’s a versatile way to deal with the limited amount of space available in places like Tokyo. Please enjoy, learn more, and re-share below. Thank you!

Multi-functional Transforming Drawer House in Tokyo


Images © Nendo.jp

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Images © Nendo.jp

Learn more: http://www.nendo.jp/en/works/drawer-house/

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Kathy
    July 31, 2015, 1:46 pm

    I have seen this approach to what I think of as space sharing a few other times. The idea is commendable and can be very livable, if you have hydraulics or good muscle tone for dragging all those “drawers” in and out of your walls several times a day. This one though, I have to say, is not as people friendly looking as the others I have seen. Pretty austere looking for my taste. There is nothing but hard surfaces and angles everywhere you look. I like minimalism, but it has to have SOMETHING inviting to be livable. Not for me I’m afraid.

  • Sadie
    July 31, 2015, 3:30 pm

    What I can’t see is how they manage the plumbing…

  • Kate
    July 31, 2015, 3:45 pm

    I have seen houses (on video) that roll into a unit like when I worked in medical records over 20 years ago. I like that this really hides! On the other hand, I’m wondering if one can go hide from any household members. Perhaps in this house, that can be done on the second floor.
    I’d like to see with own eyes how the house unfolds…

  • Mary
    July 31, 2015, 3:58 pm

    If you don’t want to see it, why would you want to have it? Box in bathroom and kitchen (the house utilities) and enjoy all the attachments you have to the stuff of life. You can’t take it with you and your kids will never figure out why you kept it!

  • Michael
    July 31, 2015, 8:53 pm

    .Interesting Japanese take on boxes within a box taken to the extreme. Pullout/fold-down beds, tables, chairs, etc and fold-out kitchens/utilities are something that we have come to expect to see in some Wee houses and mini apartments. However I have to admit that it is too minimal for me.

    For those thinking this is too austere, then a mural or design across the pullout doors and some well placed rugs and flowers would add colour and vibrancy.

    As an architect I always try to learn and appreciate something from anything I see or hear. For those things that I am not drawn to, I appreciate that they are someone’s endeavours and a slightly different view in life!

  • Mary J
    July 31, 2015, 9:18 pm

    interesting but the whole empty space could be too empty! I’ll call it a hall – just waiting for someone to fill with chairs for a meeting or event. Some of those hidden everyday things would be better on display and possibly just the bed and the bath and the dining table wall could expand out from the wall. The stairs too make for an interesting feature which is a pity to hide away when they really don’t encroach on the living hall. Now having written all this, I’ve come to the conclusion that really it could be any space at all, your place of business for daytime or your home for living in at night. It does have huge potential 🙂 I sometimes wonder why people don’t live on their business premises – why pay rent for two places…….surely this does have possibilities in todays world where time gets eaten up between home and work. So, during the day, all the shop fitting benches and wall units are out and then after hours they slide away and out comes the home furniture.

    • Christa
      July 31, 2015, 9:46 pm

      Excellent point!

  • Terry M.
    August 1, 2015, 8:44 am

    Several points One flexible hoses for plumbing and drainage hopefully with strong tight fittings two do you leave the bathroom open I know when I get home one of the first things I do is hit the head, three when preping food in the kitchen what do you do with it before pulling out the dining room and after dining what do you do with the dirty dishes just put them into the wall while your guest wait for you to pull out the living room and after the living room is out do you put it away and pull out the kitchen every time a guest wants a cold drink, four I did not see a coat closet near the entrance, five, is the upstairs set up the same way with multiple bedrooms and after any guest is tucked into their bed do you put them away for the night while you set up your bedroom.
    Not just a Murphy bed but a Murphy apartment.

  • db
    August 1, 2015, 5:55 pm

    Great concept, but very cold looking – no warmth at all….even with all the stuff out.

  • Elle
    August 1, 2015, 10:43 pm

    Humm. Vedy, vedy eeentresting, but the lack of more than a titch of natural light kind of outweighs the efficiency concept, for me.

  • Susanne
    August 2, 2015, 1:41 am

    The 400 sq ft apts. on the East coast that have walls that pull out, Murphy beds., etc I think are much better…:)

  • Denise
    August 2, 2015, 3:00 am

    I do agree this kind of space would work best for a work/live combo space as stated above. I’m not saying it’s not clever, or that it wouldn’t work for others who embrace extreme minimalism, but if I had to live in a compartmentalized box like this I would become terribly depressed. I just love color, texture, and interesting decorative pieces far too much (even in ultra-tiny spaces).

    If stuck inside during a bored and rainy day, I could see myself going around and pulling out every single drawer, pulling open and folding down every bed, and opening/extending every last cabinet that’s hiding away a “roomette” – all at once – just because I’d be so curious what it would look like all “undone” (and also to see if the wall would fall over with all the weight pulled away from the core structure at the same time). Now we’re talking fun!!! There have to be at least a few other right- brain types who’ve already considered how interesting and amusing that experiment would be!

  • alice h
    August 2, 2015, 6:28 pm

    When stuff is all put away you have a lovely dance studio or whatever else you might need a big open space for but I’m not sure I’d need everything able to disappear. I favour set hygiene, sleeping/lounging and eating spaces with a series of armoire type units around the walls between lots of windows. One would house an office type space for computer and A/V equipment, one would fold out to a kitchen space, another for crafts/sewing, another for clothing storage. Each would have to be useful for basic functions immediately upon opening the doors but could fold out further for extra functions. When closed they’d present a nice tidy appearance yet still leave a functional living space. It would need to be possible for all to be open at once if needed, at least in basic mode but optimum space would be available if only one was in use at a time.

  • Allyson
    August 2, 2015, 9:10 pm

    The Japanese have been living like this for years. An “apartment” in Tokyo might well be just one small empty tatami-mat room with a large closet behind sliding paper doors. When you want to eat, you take the fold-up table and floor cushions out of the closet and set them up. When you want to sleep, you put the table and cushions back in the closet and take out the rolled up futons and bedding.

  • Rich
    September 18, 2015, 12:05 am

    What is missing in order to understand this space is the client’s “program”. It seems that they require one large open space for some activity or activities at some point during their day or days. It is not for lack of space that the elements can be pulled out at other times so it must be their preference to have only one element at a time i.e the dining table or the bed, rolled out in that big barn of a space. Interesting design exercise. Seems more complicated than necessary.

    August 23, 2023, 5:50 pm

    hi! Can someone tell me where to find a floor plan for this house?

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