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  • yocharchitecture

Genkan : What is it?

gen kan 玄関


  • (history) Used with reference to the entrance of a Zen temple. The word is represented with two ideograms, directly translated to mean “the gateway to profound knowledge” - reflecting the arduous journey of Zen training upon entry into the temple.

  • (architecture) An entryway area directly beyond the main door where one would remove and leave their shoes before advancing into the home proper.

Origin: Japan


What is it?

A genkan is an introduction to the home.

It is usually designed to be at the same level as the outside (whether that be the porch of a house; or the corridor of an apartment).. but, within a main door.

It is an antechamber that is not ‘outside’.. but also not quite ‘inside’.

It hovers within the spectrum of the in-between.

The genkan is where you would part ways with things of the ‘outside’ (think: shoes, umbrellas, hats or coats) and step up into the rest of the house - the ‘inside’.

The presence and significance of the genkan is as much psychological as it is physical.

It is a transitional space.

It forms the delineation of where we begin our retreat from the outside world into the safety and comfort of our homes.


Why you would want one..

A genkan is a practical space to have no matter the type of residence you live in.

A house or an apartment will benefit from the split level of the genkan which act as a barrier that keeps outside dirt and dust away from your interior.

All while keeping shoes and belongings safe within a secured area.

On a social level, the genkan creates an intermediate space where you can welcome someone into your home while keeping the option of maintaining certain boundaries; or (if you so chose) allowing them to progress further into the more private sections of your home.




Smooth House by Studio Citta

Works027 by RIPARO


学(まなぶ)Gaku (Manabu) by Tanaka Komuten

Pragmatic + Practical

Hyogo Kobe City Model House by D’s Style

Fun + Quirky

Concord Californian Bungalow by Bone Made

Modern Interpretation

Amélie, l’Atelier by Batiik Studio


The style of genkan can be adopted to suit individual preferences and varying home concepts.


Have fun with it and make it your own!


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