Sunday, 29 October 2017

How big is small?

There is a movement called 'Tiny House'. Gentrified versions of shacks from the past.  Not surprisingly, prompting debate whether these often virtuoso exercises in seductive, photogenic object design actually show us a way forward in  housing affordability.

But it's probably the wrong way to see them.
Better they be considered as prototyping the bits from which near future urban living may evolve.  By looking at, and generalizing useful fragments, we can forgive the imperfections of any particular individual dwellings.

In that spirit, look at
Baitasi House of the Future is built inside a house of the past
in Beijing, by Dot Architects

As in many such fitout exercises, the first interest is in the space planning  Movable solid elements incorporate storage and equipment, with ingenious opening, sliding and folding panels.

It is tempting to trace them back to Joe Colombo's Total Furnishing Unit of 1971, but it would be missing the point.

In fact in this example, the services connections are around the periphery and relatively conventional.  The moving 3D components follow a different discipline, made possible by hacking compactus storage technology.  That is how a nominal 30m2 space can transform to three discrete bedrooms, or in 'office mode' to accommodate an impressively long table.

 And then, the more general take-home messages:
  • Building inside an existing primary weatherproof shell relieves you of using structural framing to resist loads like gravity and wind.  
  • It lets you use cabinet technology, in standard dimensions, which exploits already established benefits of large scale production.
  • You can leave more materials unfinished, not only for their present beauty, but also with a view to future 'deconstructability'.
Tiny House meets adaptive reuse. meets hacked technology. What is there not to like?

For a big gallery of images, see  ArchDaily and Gessatto.
For the story and a video, see Treehugger.

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