Jutaku: Japanese Houses, by Naomi Pollock, AIA. Phaidon, 2015, 512 pages, $24.95.

Named for the conventional Japanese word meaning “house,” Naomi Pollock’s book surveys the “wonderful, as well as the weird” residential architecture of Japan. The seasoned architectural writer (and RECORD's special international correspondent) provides cultural and historical context in an introductory essay, explaining how factors in Japan like high real-estate values, “sunshine laws” (mandating that a certain amount of natural light reaches the ground), strangely shaped sites, and off-street parking regulations influence the way architects and clients approach building homes.

Organized by geographic region, the colorful tome highlights one house per page, devoting many pages to the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo. Small infographics on every page show the size of each house relative to others in the book, as well as the ratio of building footprint to site.