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House Beautiful, Diminutive

Residents of dense urban sections of Japan such as Tokyo have gotten quite smart about living large in small spaces. Now, a new architectural movement is rethinking home design to make the most of the least.

Not only does the shift in architecture represent the combination of Eastern density — most Tokyo apartments average about 800 square feet — it nods to the openness and familial equality of the West, indicating a cultural change, as well. Regardless, the phenomenon isn't a stranger to the West. Similar to recent retrofits of prefabricated housing, American architects are also in search of the not so big house.