Less is More

ALT Studio’s Latest Project

Stairs extending from this beautiful deck in to the lawn below, from our  Rose Bay project

We love the work of our friends from Japan at ALT Studio.  We often showcase their project on the ARD blog because we love the simple humility of the architecture, use of natural materials, the way the architecture links to the outdoors through thoughtfully placed apertures for natural light and last, yet most importantly the reverent and artful integration of plant life in a very minimal way. 

This house was designed for a couple with a young child and was inspired by the traditional Japanese houses that surround it where it’s located, away from the urban core on a 300㎡ plot of land.


Most traditional Japanese country houses have a gate and a pathway within a garden that leads to the entrance of the house.  Even on this small block, having a humble garden at the front of the house allows passers-by and guests to rest their eyes on garden first, yet of course it has been designed to control the flow and line-of-sight, and applied in a very modern context.

The garage space also acts as a gate and fence and as you walk through it leads you through the simple garden and then the entrance to the house, with the level of privacy gradually increasing as you walk further into the space.  The large windows in the kitchen/living/dining rooms bring natural light and air inside, making the interior feel spacious and evoking the feeling of being outdoors.  The ceiling and roof of the living/dining room are set a little higher, and glass windows between the walls and roof-line create the illusion of a floating roof and allow further glimpses of the outdoors.

The use of timber in different ways on the floors, as wall-cladding, on the ceiling, beams, doors, joinery and furniture items add to the organic feel of the interior.  The harmony of the entrance hallway, from wooden bench seat that flows into the steps and landing feels so satisfying and you see that effect again in the stairwell with timber treads that integrate with the bookshelf joinery.  So many lovely details including the kitty litter hut tucked away under the bathroom vanity. 

The couple wanted the house to feel spacious and bright while keeping their privacy intact. In using traditional Japanese inspiration to draw from ALT reconsidered the relationship between the external structure and the interior space.  Unlike the dark interiors of traditional houses, the team at ALT put a lot of thought into making the interior space the complete opposite of that to create a comfortable, modern house that fits today’s lifestyle.