One of the retailers we're always hoping that makes their way to Los Angeles is that fine purveyor a minimalist Japanese home goods, Muji. Their organic and simple designs are amongst our favourite amongst the modern world retailers, right besides IKEA and The Conran Shop. But alas, we have to wait for visits out to New York or Asia to see their goods first hand. And now we're spending way too much time oggling the various photos of Muji prefab model homes after discovering they've released two new designs by Kengo Kuma, one based on the idea of a feudal era tea house and the other called The Treehouse, alongside a slideshow of older styles that still look fresh. These simple prefab homes are designed to be earthquake resistant (Cali-compatible), energy efficient, constructed with eco-friendly material and nicely priced starting at $200,000. We've collected a few images from their model home gallery below...
Via Yank0: The Window House is based on the idea from feudal-era tea houses where the windows are placed to give strategic views outside, like picture frames, and are mounted low, so that the views are best enjoyed when you are seated. In addition, the house has several internal windows that allow you to peek through to other rooms in the house. The window locations are variable, so you can adjust the design to suit your specific site and living tastes.
The Tree House has been built many times and this page describes, in pictures, the incredible variation the Muji houses have. It is designed to harness natural light and energy. From the looks of the diagrams, the floors receiving direct sunlight absorb the energy and radiate it back into the house. The house has a open interior balcony to introduce cross breezes combined with a chimney effect. In addition, energy-efficient materials are used elsewhere.
You can see the complete list of Muji model homes on this page to continue the oggle-fest or watch this 26 minute video (in Japanese) showcasing many of the details of Muji model house.