Project Specifications

  • Architectural Firm : – CplusC Architectural Workshop
  • Total Area : – 277 m2 
  • Completion Year : – 2019 
  • Interior Stylist : – Jase Sullivan 
  • Landscape By : –  Bell Landscapes
  • Project Location : – Sydney, Australia

The animated fantasy by Studio Ghibl name My Neighbour Totoro was an inspiration behind the Tortoru House by CplusC Architectural Workshop. Locate in Sydney, Australia the house has a concept of creating strong family bonds for the clients. This was ideated to be achieve through a thought-provoking design that blends the connection seamlessly. The concept was also to enhance the visual clarity between the indoors and the landscape. The core idea was to blur the lines between both. 

Totoro House

As a translation of the animated fantasy, the house focuses on blending the boundaries. The blend is between the living space, dining as well as kitchen into a single interwoven space. Walls in this zone were imagined as a vertical threshold that focuses on keeping the occupants together despite their varied working tasks. 

Concept and Spatial Design

Concept Of Totoro House

Some parts of the home extend outwards to form an outdoor living, cooking, and seating space. This often blurs the spaces between the courtyard and the house. Totoro House has many unique motifs that amalgamate in forming a distinctive aspect of the home. A circular motif extends from the living space to the dining area where a window is overlooking the rear courtyard.  

The Japanese concept of Shakkei is seen in these frame transitions that extend the interior towards the exterior seamlessly. These artistic elements in the form of spatial interpretations give the home a serene vibe during the working days. And a playful environment during the evenings when the home is bustling with the family members. 

The house can further be divided into three zones.  The private quarters of the existing Totoro House, the living space with the new extension, and the courtyard and other open spaces. The first part accommodates two bedrooms, a guest room, a master bedroom, and a bathroom. All the spaces have been retouched to match the new extension and make them seem like one single unit. The layouts are also not significantly changed. 

Design Of Totoro House

The New Design

The new design takes Japanese inspiration to create openings for windows that open up to the outdoor backyards and gardens. Part of these windows is made operable to welcome natural light and ample ventilation. Considering the Australian climatic conditions these revamps are ideal. These windows also form a foot rule to curate cross-ventilation indoors making it an efficient home. The window frames also have an interactive aspect to them. Since these windows are large openings they even work as seating for young children. The room has two layers of blinds to allow maximum privacy and also natural light. 

The New Design Of Totoro House

CPlusC Architectural Workshop had experienced an initial disconnect between the original Totoro House with the rear yard. This happens due to its gradation in its topography. To establish a connection with the garden space, they create a vertical transition. This helps in navigating the users from their private quarters to the outdoors and gardens. These act as a social space that was designed carefully to not hamper the neighbor’s sense of amenity and privacy.  

The New Program for Totoro House

The New Program for Totoro House

The new program and circulation transform the Totoro House from a gloomy living space into a lively space that allows interactions and bonding. The non-sequential open plan allows collaborations and seamless interactions.  

Details of Totoro House

The blur between kitchen and living spaces allows everyone to have a communal spirit and work in unity. The Kitchen and dining areas are in close proximity to the living spaces. This, in turn, allows the areas to have efficient circulation while being happy and lively. 

Totoro House Interior

The blur between the indoor and outdoor spaces; like the courtyard or the garden, allows the user to be always surround by the natural environment. This even has a positive effect on our psychology. In times of a pandemic, it is necessary to have spaces that breathe the outside, inside. The Totoro House successfully does just that. 

Landscape Design

Landscape Design of  Totoro House

The basic concept of Totoro House by CplusC Architectural Workshop is based on creating an outdoor-centric living space. The landscape here, therefore, is of great importance. Bell Landscapes work closely with the architects to develop a solution that was detail-oriented. 

 Totoro House Exterior

Using naturally available species around, like native plants and climbing planters were used for the facades. 

 Totoro House 2ith lightning

Collaboration with Interior Stylist Jase Sullivan helps them in ideating the perfect Mid-Century aesthetic that goes in sync with the spatial design. 


Materials of  Totoro House


CPlusC Architectural Workshop has been an environmentally conscious practice. Therefore, the existing materials were reuse to their full potential. The exterior brass require for the windows was achieve only through two standardize sheets. These sheets were cut off being a part of the design. The demolishe stone foundation in the garden was reuse for other newer extensions, reducing the site waste. The family also had a sustainable lifestyle as a go-to. Due to this, an installation of a 3kW photovoltaic system along with an 8000 Litres rainwater tank was done to reduce the carbon footprint.

More From Architecture Style