The project took as a premise the idea that houses within a Tokyo neighbourhood could be 'hacked' in order to share certain domestic activities. Following these hacking techniques, an extended aperture could attach a bar counter, revealing what is previously considered private domestic space, as a fluid service space - when in operation. A living room, in one of the cases, is transplanted from the back of the lot and positioned adjacent to one of the dormant vacant lots, activating it as a potential daycare center - a necessary and scarce amenity for working parents. In the process of commodifying these different domestic labor tasks, it is necessary to reimagine their display and unveil; beyond pedestrian accessibility purposes, these acts - such as washing and drying clothes - becomes a paid and public performance. Hairdressing services, as in one of our cases, is in public display on these vacant lots - slowly adapting to domestic spillage, and imagining a new incentivized form of domestic labor. If the juxtaposition of these activities between the realms of domestic and private might appear odd, Japan has a long and sometimes hidden culture of appropriating domestic environments, and the surrounding urban areas. The bar counter of the living room, for example, seems not so different from queer ‘apartment bars’ in Shinjuku Ni Chome district, where the so called Mama San owners of these ‘establishments’ host their guests in spaces not bigger than an average Japanese living room. Similarly, the idea of collective living and sharing of amenities appear to be widespread within japanese modes of habitation. An example could be Kankamori Collective housing, where the residents not only share the amenities, but have developed an internal monetary system where goods and services could be exchanged between the residents. Within the Oshiage neighbourhood, the house owners of the hacked domestic environments could develop a similar system of exchange; the kitchen house might provide food for the day care center, laundry could be done for credit at the bar etc. Unlike the traditional collective housing, however, the residents within these spaces would have a strong incentive to retain their individual houses and hack them to accommodate the potential economic activities.

Tokyo Kitchen-less Stories


Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Professor: Anna Puigjaner, MAIO Architects

TA: Yuko Sono


New York, US / Tokyo, Japan - Spring Semester 2019