The BMW M3 is from 1986. The house? 2009. Both are clever, well-designed, focused, a perfect match across a quarter century.

Why the need to oversize, be it house, hamburger, or BMW M3? The latter has gained a thousand pounds between E30 and E92, and while an even more dramatic gain has been realized up front, 200 HP blossoming to 420, weight is not a relative when it comes to car control.

With houses, it’s not that different. There is an optimum for space. Move beyond that and you end up with a cavernous, alienating environment which requires massive effort to maintain. Armies of window cleaners. An event horizon of dust.

But while cars—save for a certain Toyota FT-86 or the new Mustang—show no sign of returning to their lighter, simpler roots, due to our appetite for comfort and passive safety, geography and population density can result in modern, well-designed, yet rather small houses.


Pictured here is a family’s home in Kanagawa, a Japanese city most famous for an Edo period woodblock print depicting a tsunami wave. Here, the wave is channeled to bisect a fantastically simple Monopoly house into two. Architect Akio Nakasa’s design separates living space from office and guest space and creates a yard in the process.


This architecturo-oceanographic act leaves a total of 2,000 square feet of habitable space, 80 of which are occupied by the object you’ve clicked on this post to see: a black BMW E30 M3, parked right next to a dining table sized to seat every possible occupant.

Our Mr. Smith, resident E30 M3 expert, would like you to leave this permalink a more enlightened person, and he has this to add:

The M3 has the nifty optional 16-inch wheels. They weren’t officially available in the States.

The color is called Diamantschwarz, but US BMW freaks call it Diamondbarf. Claimed to be the least attractive of the four shades (silver, black, white, red) offered here.


Barf or not barf, it’s a harmonic use of 4% of the house’s living space, leaving the rest for gazing barefoot at the rocks outside.

Photo Credit: Toshiyuki Yano / Nacasa & Partners, This Is Why You’re Fat. See more pictures of the house at ArchDaily.