All images © Lamberto Rubino courtesy Tan Yamanouchi & AWGL
Ever wondered what your home might look like if it were custom-designed to cater to the tastes of your beloved feline companions? Well, the architect Tan Yamanouchi (previously) of AWGL has designed a purr-fect home, prioritizing his two cats over himself and his partner. Instead of adhering to typical human requirements, the architect decided to treat their furry companions as esteemed clients.
So, what were these cats’ distinctive requests ? As it turns out, our feline friends have rather refined tastes when it comes to their living space :
Temperature Tier Supreme: Cats are known for their knack for detecting subtle temperature variations. They relish the freedom to roam and select their ideal comfort zone, so the architect envisioned a house that would allow them to effortlessly find their preferred temperature at any given moment.
Proximity, Yet with Space to Spare: Cats adore being in close proximity to their human family members, but they also cherish having their personal space. Thus, the home has to allow cozy snuggling while maintaining a comfortable and respectful distance.
Safe Havens Abound: Our furry companions thrive on variety. They crave multiple snug spots to call their own, with a penchant for changing things up with the seasons.
The outcome? A house that essentially doubles as an oversized cat tree. The architect placed a central atrium, complete with a skylight, enveloped by spiral steps. The natural light filtering through gently illuminates each step throughout the day. The stair dimensions were meticulously calculated based on the body measurements of these cats, resulting in a whopping 23 distinct floor levels. Consequently, the entire residence is divided into fine temperature layers, offering the cats a diverse landscape to explore and enjoy.
The spiral staircase was designed to allow the occupants a panoramic view of the entire house from any vantage point, without obstructing the line of sight. Each step is generously sized at 900 millimeters, providing our cats the option to hide from people downstairs, maintain a certain sense of separation from others, or peacefully nap in their chosen nooks.
Inside this unique abode, you’ll discover concealed hideaways, bedrooms, a studio, a kitchen, and more—all strategically positioned to cater to the cats’ comfort and entertainment. As for the exterior, it comprises wooden decks, and carefully selected flora that enhance the view for both our feline friends and passersby.
The house’s architectural form consists of two interlocking L-shaped volumes, each featuring a distinct shed roof with varying angles. This not only simplifies construction but also blends with the surroundings of Kamakura’s mountains. Moreover, it prevents the house from becoming a commonplace structure we’ve all seen before. The strategically placed windows were meticulously designed in terms of height and positioning, allowing passersby and visitors to delight at the sight of these adorable cats as an integral part of the architectural elevation.
In a country where pet cats now outnumber newborn babies and with a growing interest in the therapeutic benefits of animals, this project isn’t just unique but serves as a demonstration of designing spaces that cater to the needs and desires of our beloved furry companions.