Split Machiya is a design solution by Japanese architect's Atelier Bow-Wow in response to the need for two homes on one small building plot (27 square metres) in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The structures are positioned as mirror opposites within the confined site and allow for a considered courtyard garden which separates the two homes in the center.
In order to maximise the amount of floor space, each abode integrates private areas and open living quarters across two and half levels, the pitched roof being incorporated into the second floor. To filter natural light into the spaces, skylights were used as well as large, symmetrical windows, positioned on the second floor, that are aligned through the adjacent dwellings. This allows for open vista's across the courtyard and through the opposite building, inciting a spacious view of the garden. To further utilise the limited space, built-in wooden shelving units replace the need for additional or unnecessary furniture.
'Machiya' is a traditional Japanese building type from the Edo Period, specifically based in the Kanazawa area. These are traditional and merchant homes. Split Machiya derives elements from this vernacular aesthetic in its design.