Today, in the United Kingdom, numbers of vacant homes are at their highest level in 20 years according to new government figures. In other words, we are experiencing a housing crisis brought on by the increasing demand for houses which exceeds the supply. We create housing in the form of little brick boxes for our lives and find ourselves being packed tighter and tighter together like the very same bricks that surround us.
More so, our housing needs and our perception of what a ‘house’ is has changed drastically from decades ago, architects bring in new interiors design concept: micro-living, to ensure a beautiful, fully reliable and self-powered home.
UKLEJU has rounded up a few mini properties which focused on the MICRO concept and ask you to engage with the idea of new neighbourhoods on a city scale.
Slim House, 183 square feet (17 square metres), London
The London architects, Alma-nac was approached by a young couple in order to create a slim house on the busy street of St John’s Hill, Clapham, London.
This slim home has very narrow proportion, measuring just 2.3m internally. Alma-nac focused on the three-dimensional volume of the space instead of the square footage, in order to organise different living functions within this limited space.
As a result, Alma-nac managed to construct multi-functional rooms, a lofty double-height dining space, and generous storage on each floor. Storage was a key consideration, the main bedroom at the first floor allowed for the creation of a dressing room area so that it remains uncluttered of furniture.
Skinny House, 3.4 metres wide (20 metres deep), Netherlands
This three-storey skinny house’s proportions in relation to its height provided a structural challenge for creating light-filled and lofty spaces.
Inside the house, plywood boxes are used to encase each of the concrete columns suited to the living spaces. These include the kitchen and storage for the dining room, bookshelves for the library and living room, and the bathroom and wardrobe for the bedrooms.
The architectural concept stresses a natural division of living spaces that merge together, where the spaces are always connected horizontally and vertically. Natural and simple materials are used throughout the residence, a skylight above the bathtub is intended to offer views of passing clouds and birds, as well as to bring natural daylight into this darker zone of the house.
Saigon House by A21 studio, Vietnam
A21studio, the Vietnamese architects designed house-shaped rooms which are connected by staircases and bridges inside these three metres wide house in Ho Chi Minh City. The client’s main request was to build a family home for her children but with enough spaces for her parents and siblings to stay. More importantly, she wanted this house to be the place where her children can cherish the memories of the place where they grow up.
Therefore, architects added full of bright colour materials and used the spirit of the vintage stuff to reborn in the places they are needed most. Rooms are located on four different levels, and there is a tree in the heart of the building. This reinforces the idea of the ground floor as being like an outdoor space, where the family gather for meals.
In this way, the whole building becomes a vertical village.
Self-contained cabin home, 120 sq.ft, London
Tim Lowe, the company founder of Studio Bark came up with a design as an alternative to property guardianship, where people pay very little rent to live in abandoned buildings.
The intention of this project is to provide an alternative to central London’s high rental rates for young people. This cabin home reassesses vacant space and how it can provide a sustainable approach to affordable living in city centres.
This home includes all basic living furniture needed and the wall are made from Smartply. Smartply is a formaldehyde-free OSB, are insulated with lamb wool for warmth and soundproofing. This micro home suited the housing needs for young professionals and creatives who live fast-paced and irregular lifestyles, and who always need a private space to themselves.
Additionally, the micro home is designed to allow easy to be transported to another location and rebuilt. The company claims that this idea creates minimal construction waste, as these self-contained homes are modular and built for easy transportation.
Today in 2019, 54 % of the human population of 7.5 billion people lives in major cities, but the majority of us can’t afford to buy our own home. Many developers focused more on maximising profits rather than quality of design life sub stability. These new homes often lack any imagination, innovation, personality and style due to cost cutting exercises and the standardisation of developments.
The solution comes in architecture driven housing, with new advance in materials, technology and city development, architects bring the same quality of architectural space in housing into our new homes.
For this to become a reality we need to have more forward-thinking planning authorities who are willing to consider this inventive approach to housing.