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Nagasawa Dental Clinic

Kunihiko Matsuba has designed a dental clinic to look like precariously stacked building blocks, on the brink of collapse.

Nagasawa Dental Clinic


December 4th, 2014


It may be a tad disconcerting to those who dread going to the dentist, but Kunihiko Matsuba’s design of a dental clinic and house in Tokyo, Japan does make for an interesting architectural discussion.


The building is located in the residential suburb of Hachioji – a city in the western part of Tokyo – and includes a dental clinic, a house, a garage for two cars, and a parking lot for seven patients’ cars.



The garage and the parking lot have been arranged close to the road that runs in front of the clinic, making them easily accessible. And to ensure that the dental clinic’s presence in the neighborhood would not be diminished by being located towards the back of the site, Matsuba has created a precariously stacked block arrangement that catches the eye from afar, where the house lies perched on the edge of the garage and dental clinic.


The designer has divided the rectangular layout of the dental clinic into several strips of space for waiting lounges, consultation rooms, hallways, and other miscellaneous facilities. The living and dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and lavatory are located on the northern side of the narrow house with a staircase located at its centre and a bedroom and other rooms on the southern side.


Indirect lighting is used both inside and outside the buildings. Upward-facing linear LED lighting apparatuses have been installed on the external wall of the dental clinic. In addition, linear cornice lighting apparatuses have been employed for the waiting lounges in the clinic and the living room in the house. As a result, the interior and exterior walls are illuminated by soft, linear rays of light.


While full of tension, the building block arrangement retains an atmosphere of traditional Japanese architecture, which is typically made up of beams and pillars. What’s more, the space underneath the house serves not only for passing vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but can also transform into a waiting lounge or a living room for when the weather is pleasant.


Photography by Taishi Hirokawa

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