While no one has a crystal ball that can tell us exactly what the world of housing will look like in the future, we can gain a lot of insight from the way Japan builds their homes, says New Atlas writer Adam Williams. Japanese architects are often constructing innovative and unusual homes, mostly due to size restraints in a densely populated country.

This year's House Vision Tokyo exhibition brought together some great minds to think about housing around the theme "Co-Dividual: Split and Connect/Separate and Come Together." The architects created 12 prototype homes, of which Atlas selected some standouts. What are some things we might see in the future of homes?

  • A house with a refrigerator outside: "What if we can make a house with a refrigerator that can be accessed from outside?" asks Yamato Holdings and Fumie Shibata. The idea certainly has merit, and enabling street access to the fridge would allow people to order fresh food by courier and have it waiting for them, after work, for example.
  • A grand third living room: How does living out of your car sound? Japanese architect Kengo Uma envisions a home that has done away with traditional structure completely. Homeowners would have a trio of lightweight tents that they would carry around in their Hybrid Toyota, which would power the tents and provide clean electricity to the tents once plugged in.
  • Rental space tower: Daito Trust Construction teamed up with Sou Fujimoto to create shared rental housing that minimizes the size of private bedrooms and maximizes shared space, similar to the trend we are starting to see in America for micro units.
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