It’s one thing to build a home that feels transparent and open to the neighborhood; it’s an entirely different matter to open up your house to whoever is passing by. This house in a small Japanese town takes neighborly goodwill to the extreme with a ground-floor library open to the public.
The owner of the simple concrete house enlisted Japanese studio Hiroshi Kinoshita and Associates to transform the street level of the house into a community amenity. A wall of sliding glass doors welcomes passersby into a gallery-like space. Bookshelves line the bright white walls and a smooth concrete bench curves into a reading circle.
Toward the back of the library, a set of closed-off stairs leads to the second floor, where the private spaces are equally restrained. The expansive main living area features poured concrete floors, a raw concrete ceiling, white walls, and the necessities—a couch tucked into a corner, a dining table, a few cabinets, and a simple kitchen setup. It’s bright, quiet, and another good spot to dive into a book.