Japanese architect Yasuhiro Yamashita makes the most out of very small spaces, as evidenced by Cell Brick, a Tokyo residence he designed in 2004. It is a two-story home with a basement in an area not much wider than a crosswalk. Construction was achieved by bolting together stacked steel boxes, which creates a stable structure in an earthquake-prone region. The openings in the boxes become windows and their given depth (300mm) blocks out summer sunlight and pulls in the warmth of the winter sun. Because the boxes provide ample storage for personal belongings, there exists what Mr. Yamashita calls a "life layer" surrounding the interior spaces.
Photos: Richard Hunger for The New York Times.