As the population of the world increases, the available space for accommodation is scarce. The ideal design solution emerged in the form of micro-housing, which is designing living spaces in small areas. A majority of the world’s population exists as individual people, residing in foreign cities for employment and education. They don’t need to live in spacious spaces, as they hardly spend much time indoors. Hence, micro-housing proves useful in accommodating different types of people in society. Taking into account the current pandemic situation, micro-housing has similar design ideation as that of socially distant spaces. If the aftereffect of the pandemic continues in the upcoming years, micro-housing might just become the most popular architecture trend.
The concept of micro-housing is based on the design concept of maximum functional spaces in a minimum footprint or area. Here are some examples of micro-housing design:
1. House in Tamatsu by Ido, Kenji Architectural Studio, Japan
This is a three-story dwelling for a family of four people. The total plot area is 465 square feet. The house is located in an urban area and is surrounded by a mixed-use area consisting of small houses, factories, and office buildings. The large openings couldn’t be opened out to the roadside view because of the structural reasons. So the second-floor volume was rotated 14 degrees, for the axis of the building. The spaces between the rotated volume and the outer walls, which are the interstitial spaces, became voids. The design minimizes load-bearing walls and pillars to maximize space and natural light. An overhead skylight ensures that daylight reaches the lowest living spaces on the ground floor. The staircase is designed as a box-shaped cantilevered, which is floating in the void.
2. Bamboo micro-housing
The bamboo micro-housing project is a transitional housing design for the 280,000 + residents in the city of Hong Kong. This project was designed for residents who do not have permanent housing. The key concept was for the design to be sustainable, inexpensive, and quick to assemble. The micro-housing is proposed to be installed in the interior of some industrial buildings in cities throughout southeast Asia. The material used for the entire structure is bamboo and the typology is meant to accommodate an individual or a couple. It consists of a kitchenette, a living room, bathroom, fold-out dining area, work area, and sleeping quarters. The main intention behind the concept and design was to show that micro-housing need not always be poor-quality.
3. Compact Karst house
This micro-housing is designed to be a small-scale residential space for a family. The material concept features a monolithic volume consisting of two wooden houses. These spaces are connected by a shared and open gallery. This is a contemporary take on a traditional style of architecture in Slovenia.
4. Tom’s hut
This minimal micro-housing made out of wood mimics the surroundings as it is located in a forest setting. The roof extends into an angular shape. The space consists of two levels. The prefabricated elements fit perfectly in the confined space. The location and the design of this hut make it perfect for a place of retreat.
5. Blooming bamboo home
This micro-housing project is located in Vietnam. Natural disasters are very severe there, such as floods, storms, and landslides. This project is a part of creating something that reduces the overall structural damage cost. It is a modular type of housing, made out of bamboo. This monolithic structure is strong enough to withstand 1.5 m floods. The space is multi-functional and can accommodate typologies such as educational, medical, and community centers. The users can build this house by themselves within 25 days, and the modules can be mass-produced. This also makes for ecological and economically stable design.
6. 1.8m width house
This project is located in Japan and has a site area of about 2.5m width and 11m depth. The concept revolves around vertically creating spaces. The floating floors in long and narrow spaces create a spatial expanse. Light and ventilation are taken in from the front and upper sides of the building. Structure-wise, the columns, and beams were minimized to maximize the internal spaces. The base of the construction framework is steel. The exterior façade was done with a non-scaffolding type of construction system. The house fits in between similar residential structures on its street. Overall, it gives a very minimalistic vibe and shows how space has been cleverly managed.
Micro housing consists of applying the smartest architectural ideas because it is all about spaces and their arrangements. It can be quite tricky to try to fit all the basic or bare minimum requirements of living space into small areas. It is a challenge and an opportunity to exhibit innovative ideas in the field of architecture.